Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 243
Wed. Sept 12, 2012

“God in the Numbers”
Richard Ashcroft


“♫ Don’t throw
away the pictures
that give you
a smile/ don’t
throw away the
memories that
make you cry
♫ ”

Happy Belated Birthday wishes to Richard Ashcroft. Richard’s birthday was yesterday, on September 11th? Can you imagine having a birthday on 9/11? On the day you want to celebrate, the whole world in mourning one of the worst days in history. Former Verve front-man and no solo artist discussed celebrated his 9/11 birthday with Thomas Beller when he said, “I had my 30th birthday on 9/11 with my child. For anyone around the world with an ounce of feeling in their bones it was a huge moment, and it was weird because a lot of the songs I wrote beforehand seemed to reference the event somehow. “The numbers, palaces of fortune in the sky…” whether I was visualizing big corporate towers because I was thinking about the way we’ve always built these huge dominating symbols or what, I don’t know.”

“God in the Numbers” is the song, Ashcroft was referring to, and it’s definitely one of the most soulful songs on 2002’s Human Conditions. “God in the Numbers” is a postmodern urban hymn. You can hear Ashcroft literally searching, contemplating answers of the great beyond. Within this dynamic epic which at the heart withholds the spiritual quest inside of Richard’s Human Conditions?

Richard Ashcroft talked about Human Conditions, “God” and how he believes his songs are like prayers, when he said. “A lot of these songs are like prayers. Anything that’s spiritual should leave the listener with a sense of, not exactly an out of body experience, but it should transport you to a different place, a different state of mind and a higher state of consciousness. In a sense, “God in the Numbers” is about someone who hasn’t defined his God yet, he doesn’t have a book to pass down to his son and say here, it’s all here within this book. But I’m also searching for a sense of spirituality and I think my prayers have always been my songs, really, that’s the way I communicate best through music. It’s an instinctive thing; I wanted to make people feel like people feel in a church.”

Don’t worry my fellow Verve and Ashcroft fans, I don’t believe the religious right would ever want to co-opt Richard’s quasi-religious anthem because “Numbers” is about a search for God. When asked in a television interview if he found an answer or was he still searching in “God in the Numbers,” Richard Ashcroft replied, “Yeah, I’m still searching and still confused. People find their own personal gods within things that are incredibly complex but on the surface seem simple like your child’s eyes, having a cup of tea, watching a sunset or making love. They all can induce a sense of religious feeling within me.

Ashcroft then explained the origin of “Numbers” when he said, “God in the Numbers” that title is so funny to me it’s like the film π [Pi], the guy who finds the final code, he breaks the code and he finds and sees the number that’s so beautiful, he gets God. He finally realizes there must be a bigger plan because the number is so beautiful, the code is so beautiful, and it works so well. I think the film π [Pi] was a big influence on that song.

It took a couple of spins but “God in the Numbers” is more than song that inspires you to contemplate your own life. For someone who celebrates his birthday on 9/11, Richard Ashcroft doesn’t write your normal three minute mindless bubble pop songs. Ashcroft goal in Human Conditions is for all of us to lift us echoing Maya Angelou’s philosophy of, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Ashcroft wants for us to reconnect within the beauty of life, beyond the numbers, inside of his songs are prayers for the dreamers and the lovers.

Richard reflects his inner soulful harmony in a sound that vibrates the essence in our nature to seek out and learn to question everything within ourselves, our faith, our paths within our worlds of static isolation and fear. Within the moments of song prayers, Ashcroft never fails to take our breaths into new realms within the soundtrack through the journey of personal meaning and understanding of our own Human Conditions. Never has Richard Ashcroft explored this righteous of a sound, it’s time you experienced “God in the Numbers.”