‘Duty’ - James Dunne Review
James Dunne served in the British Army for 9 years, undertaking various oversea operational tours whilst serving under the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME); yet as Sally Jarvis (senior artist manager for James) informed me, the song isn't about wartime duty. It's about the reflective period afterwards when home.
"Took a walk down a long dark road, and I wondered where you are. My soul was stolen from me and was locked in a mason jar."
This is suggestive of the long road we all walk when contemplating big decisions and reflecting on past events. It's interesting how James portrays it as a dark road, clearly hinting towards mental health struggles such as depression. Conversely, it could be perceived to represent the migrant crisis and modern slavery issues, meaning the title is suggestive of our civil 'Duty'.
There are also biblical references to "The Lord appeared before me and said boy, did you live your life well?" It's not uncommon that when in times of reflection and need of guidance we turn to our religion, our God(s). It is in our inner core that they are found. Whether it's the Lord being present through us, or a way of finding self belief and resolve to the situation.
"I said I done my time and I done my duty, and I spent my time in hell"
Given the context of the song, it's easy to assume that this is referencing leaving the Army, due to severe dissatisfaction, equating it to hell, yet could also be symbolic of a release, we are finally letting go of what was holding us back and making us miserable and down.
James compares it to a double-edged sword of going through hell to make the world a better place, and not heading there himself for actions that happened in the line of duty. He hopes to have earned grace for his personal sacrifices, and sanctuary in heaven as recompense for the hell endured on earth.
The song is so deep and powerful, always a testament to a great song, one that can translate any circumstance, emotion, and remain current and topical.
This song is a reminder that we have a 'Duty' not only to our wider community and our loved ones, but also to ourselves. If we're feeling in hell, or a position that equates it, then something must be done to remedy it. Reach out and get the support you need!
'Duty' is available now from all streaming services. Go check out his social media: jamesdunnemusicuk as there's more new music coming soon!