Is it possible to view The Blurred Crusade as a loose theme album about...indeed, a crusade? Why not? The odd experiments and achievements of 70’s prog are not far behind, it’s 1982 after all. The album is very much done for the vinyl in two parts and both sides are almost identical: 3 relatively straight popsongs, a huge epic and a small song in the end = straight 10 song pop album. So where is the prog theme then? Here is how I see it as a loose plotline above the songs themselves:
Almost With You - Excitement of going to a journey of a crusade. "Who are you trying to get in touch with?". "Is this the taste of victory?" I’m almost with you, Jesus.
When You Were Mine - Journey to holy land by sea. Men drown in a storm. Nope, it’s not victory.
Field Of Mars - Remembering all those who were left behind in the journey of previous song.
An Interlude - An epic first battle. How to become a master swordsman or guitar player. Epic battle mostly instrumentally.
Secret Corners - Small song where the main character thinks about his relationship with Jesus. The battle has been a test of faith and there has to be some introspection and soul searching. "who is this child, who is this man?". Crusader knows that Jesus will be waiting him. "Run to the secret corners, I’ll still be waiting" Jesus says to him.
I’m not a deeply religious person. It can just be interpreted that way as the lyrics are rich in religious images. In that sense this song is as important in the main storyline as all the other songs. In all adventure movies the hero has to search his motives and pause for a moment before the next action piece.
What about the song Secret Corners? It’s so sweet and short. In 1:46 it’s the first miniature gem of the band. Nightflower, Old Flame, Don’t Look Back...It builds to the first chorus, which is sung only once and then tum-tum-tum and it’s over before you know it. It’s such a nice cliffhanger for the next side that you have to wait as you flip the side of the vinyl. Originally I felt that it was half developed but when viewed as a cliffhanger, or end of chapter 1, it makes a lot more sense. Even though it’s short it’s as essential in this side as any of the other songs.
How will the crusade develop in the second half? That’s what I will review in Don’t Look Back.