Owen Duff – “Flawed Men”


The gorgeous “Flawed Men” is a just-released track from Owen Duff, the London-based singer/songwriter who impressed previously with the track “You Amaze Me.” “Flawed Men” is a greater showcase of Duff’s stunning, sonorous vocals and a more focused lyrical theme, which Owen explains in detail below. There’s an emotional build-up starting around 01:30, culminating in a fantasy-like surge of symphonics that mesh beautifully with Duff’s gently empowering vocals. The track is a part of a full album, due for release in November.

“I’d been asked to look at doing some scoring work for a film (which in the end didn’t happen), and was reading parts of the script when those two words “flawed men” jumped out at me,” Owen explains. “It was as all of the revelations about sexual abuse and harassment in various industries were coming to light, and I suppose I’ve had the feeling that throughout the 2010s there had been scandals exposing bad behaviour in nearly every institution from the political system to the church to the news and entertainment media. The Me Too movement was just starting to gather pace revealing formerly trusted and respected figures as molesters, and these events together with the ongoing terrorist atrocities (some occurring just miles away from me in London), migration crisis and impending environmental catastrophe were trickling down into the idea machine that chunters away in the background of my brain, giving me the fuel for an idea that that phrase “flawed men” suddenly ignited.

“We are flawed, we are doing terrible terrible things all the time, and yet we are brilliant and noble also, which was what I felt I needed to say in the song. Not that women aren’t flawed of course but it’s been a man’s world for many thousands of years (and in most places still is) and therefore I think we have to take responsibility for the state we’re in (and soon to be even more in).”

“When I initially wrote the lyrics I didn’t include myself, for example the first line was “flawed men, with the world in THEIR hands”. I then thought no, I’m flawed too, the things in the song apply to me too, so it became “we” and “our”. The final line “the likes of she” which gives my album its name was originally not gendered, it was “the likes of you”, but I do hope that feminine energy is needed in the world to redress the power imbalance – not even necessarily in women but in men, men need to stop being afraid and ashamed of femininity in themselves and in others. So the “she” is more conceptual than it seems.”

“The arrangement I created to echo Bernard Herrmann’s score to ‘Taxi Driver’, with its soft military snare and climactically swelling brass – that film’s lead character Travis Bickle is to me emblematic of tortured, toxic, flawed yet arguably heroic masculinity, which I thought was perfect for the song.”

“Flawed Men” released alongside “A Feather on the Scale,” another successful track that can be streamed below. They’re part of the Flawed Men EP, released 17 October 2018 on all major platforms.

“Flawed Men” and other memorable tracks from this month can also be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of October 2018’ Spotify playlist.

The track is also featured in the genre-based, best-of Spotify compilation Indie Folk 2018.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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