"I See Sadness" is the new single from English musical visionary, producer and songwriter Paul Steel, taken from his forthcoming concept album Carousel Kites. One of the most poppy and accessible tracks on the album, Paul describes it as basically a rewrite of Pixar's Inside Out. We see our protagonist "I" coming to the end of his kaleidoscopic journey of redemption with a new lease of life. As he explains; "I went about living my days positively. When I observe the people around me I see sadness in all of them. It's not all I see but it felt good not to be alone. Sadness is a crucial part of happiness, only before I wallowed in it rather than using it as a springboard to get what I want in life."
Listen to "I See Sadness" via this lightly animated video based on an illustration by Tom Heron from The Xcerts, who drew images for each track on the album:
Carousel Kites is the second album from musical visionary and songwriter Paul Steel. A mere ten years since his extraordinarily ambitious debut as a nineteen-year-old April & I, the new album sees a triumphant return with an irreverent and excessive assault of psychedelic pop - a loose concept album reflecting his rocky trajectory through the quagmires of the music industry, finding salvation through a Mr Ben-inspired shop portal. The intervening years saw him hailed as the second coming of Brian Wilson, endorsed by luminaries such as Andy Partridge from XTC, Van Dyke Parks, Stephen Kalinich and Sean Lennon, he was signed to and then unceremoniously dropped by a major label for not being commercial enough, and then finding regular work as a jobbing songwriter for the likes of Mika and Empire Of The Sun and numerous battery farmed pop sensations. His music also features in the Oscar winning film The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro.
Carousel Kites had a working title of April & II (only works written down) with a fleshed-out narrative that starts with the very same 'I' from his debut record of ten years ago, now grown up and miserable in April's absence, standing on the edge of Beachy Head about to end it all. He’d not only lost his sole source of inspiration but also his will to carry on. Pulled from the precipice Carousel Kites proceeds to tell the story of his salvation through a Mr Ben inspired fantasy shop door where he enters a kaleidoscopic Faustian nightmare encountering grotesque characters of his own making before eventually stumbling upon his own take on happiness, living forever in his dreams.
By design Carousel Kites is a challenging and relentless listen but it’s glorious. It might be everything a record shouldn’t be in 2018, it's greatest strengths are also its biggest weaknesses but it’s the record he set out to make from the start and entirely on his own terms. And things are looking up. With songs on Empire of the Sun’s latest EP and Guillermo Del Toro’s critically acclaimed new movie 'The Shape of Water', he might have done enough to leave those insipid pop stars behind. Keep your eyes out for the mid life crisis record in another 10 years.