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Clay Joule - Cup of Joe (Truwan Studio)

23 November 2023

Clay Joule might be based in the US, but the issues and ideas that he sings about are anything but the problem of just one nation. And so it is with his latest single, “Cup of Joe,” an American slang expression for a cup of coffee. Of course, the song isn’t really about a cup of coffee; it merely stands as a metaphor, an idea that can be used as a unifying factor, a harmless and harmonious shared experience.

Why? Because the world has become divided, so much so that the days of reasonable debate and exchange of ideas seem to be a thing of the past. Such entrenchments are found in society, mainly driven by people’s slavish devotion to political parties whose policies many don’t even fully comprehend, yet vote for them anyway. The media, popularist figures, corporate sales, military greed, the cash till ring, and activists for everything from race to color to creed seem to be driving a wedge between us all, armed with their agenda, all in the name of political righteousness.

Gone, it seems, are the times when people from opposite paths could have a normal or even a frank exchange of views, consider the other’s position, and still walk away on friendly terms. Debate seems to have become a case of “you are either with me or against me.” There is no middle ground.

“Cup of Joe” advocates a return of the idea of that middle ground, a place where no one is right, no one is wrong and no one gets offended by what someone else has to say. Heck, the coffee in question, IS the middle ground, or at least a placeholder for it. Can we ever return to those days when you could have opposing views, accept that there are as many world views as life experiences, and allow everyone else to vote for and voice their ideas as they see fit?

And that is all Clay Joule is selling here – balance, acceptance, empathy, harmony, peace, love, and understanding. And as a wise man once sang, What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?

These are all ideas being quietly advocated by right-minded people. Hardly radical or even new. Just pick up the good book, or any religious text for that matter, it’s all been said before, but obviously not adhered to. Still, perhaps, with us all deaf, at least in one ear, to debate and rhetoric, it falls to music makers to become our new spokespersons, using their often not insignificant platforms to whisper ideas through radios and music files, videos, and, of course, songs.

Here, the song in question is a neat slice of indie-pop woven from soulful guitar licks and spacious back beats. But as always, it is the message that counts. And the message is this. If you want the world to be different, it is just a few cups of joe away; you only have to want it enough.