Adrian Snell: Sharing the vision of his concept album 'Beautiful... Or What?'

Thursday 1st April 1993

ADRIAN SNELL doesn't make albums, he catches visions. Jonathan Bellamy investigated.

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But how? The album obviously tackles the problem from a Christian perspective. It is a unique achievement not least in that it is authentic, but will a secular world be able to relate to it? "Very consciously, I think," replied David. "We've avoided it becoming labelled a piece of Christian propaganda. We have sought to tell the story and bring the lyrics and the music right from the depths of our hearts with integrity and with honesty. There's not a song there that I believe presents a nice tidy evangelical view. No, it's about the dignity of human life and of course many people other than just Christians hold the same level of passion about human life and its worth."

Non-evangelical it may be, but it is of God! The Christian world is going to respond in some way - anywhere in the broad spectrum from basic ignorance to, well, a response!, so what hope does Adrian Snell hold for this new work? Is it going to touch our Christian sympathies, our Christian hearts?

"Well, Phil and I addressed it as Christians," said Adrian, "and therefore my hope is that Christian people out there from whatever Christian basis will respond to it and see the underlying Christian message that is there, but much more than that I hope we will be allowed access to those of an entirely different background, faith or no faith." Suddenly finding himself on a roll, Adrian continued, "I wouldn't suggest for one minute that this album is going to change the world, but it is one of, I hope, hundreds of different, positive strands that we can grasp hold of so that we are building God's kingdom here on earth."

There are exciting plans to expand the vision of 'Beautiful...Or What?!' beyond a shiny new CD. A Dutch television company have made a big budget offer to produce a full animated cartoon of 'Beautiful...Or What?!'. Commented Phil Thomson, "The work had to be written three-dimensionally. It couldn't be written just as a set of songs but for a much wider context, hopefully to be explored with on stage and on a number of levels."

So a move into the theatre is another exciting possibility for the project. "I'd love to see it in the theatre with a combination of dance and acting," said Adrian. "Almost a multi-media production taking the heart of the work and building in these different elements."

Visions of Adrian ragdolling himself across an expansive backdrop of dancing butterflies and multi-coloured sunsets hit me, so I asked him if he was turning into the Christian Andrew Lloyd Webber? Adrian chuckled, then, very pointedly, said "No!" He then continued: "No, I hope I remain what I have always been, somebody who speaks the language of music, and that means producing as diverse material as solo albums like 'Fireflake' or 'Kiss The Tears', and then the bigger productions like 'Song Of An Exile', 'Alpha And Omega', and this. I'm not aiming to build up a little empire of musicals at all. When they are written they come from the heart and they seem to be issues that are very important to deal with in that way."

In 'Beautiful...Or What?' Adrian Snell sings the part of the rag doll. All through, the rag doll responds perhaps in exactly the way that God listens and responds to our hurts. Who's to say that in the writing of this album Adrian himself has not touched upon the heart of God, beautiful and bold. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Jonathan Bellamy
Jonathan BellamyJonathan Bellamy is the CEO of Cross Rhythms. He presents the daily City Drive radio programme and is married to Heather.

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