4: the concept explained
On The Ledge: Adam climbs the stairs of a building. As he reaches the top, he screams and opens the door on the roof. Suddenly after, he's lit by an helicopter light where a news reporter is speaking. "Yes, we are here flying over a building where an elegantly dressed man is standing on the ledge. We still don't know the causes but policemen and firemen are on the way to the scene and... wait, wait! Something strange is happening now: he is sitting!". He sits down and starts retracing his whole life.
Our Horizon: the timeline shifts to the past, when Adam met Anne. She was his world, a wildflower meadow with no walls and echoes that finally he can run. He really loves her but when it comes to take his own responsibilities, like to have a baby, he tells her to wait until he'll have the pay raise he longed for a long time, but he doesn't even notice that his boss have no idea about who is he.
K: Anne finds out she has a cancer after dr. Greedy's phone call at home. "K" is the abbreviation for "cancer", from the greek "karkinos".
As I Close My Eyes: Adam suddenly realizes the Anne is dying and all their dreams are coming to an end, including all the choices he has delayed. One night, he has a nightmare. He sees a familiar shape with Anne's lips and his voice that starts speaking: it's the son they will never have.
Traces On The Seaside: Adam decides to go out for a walk. A long time ago he walked with Anne on a beach, so he decided to return there but now he notices something. The footsteps on the seaside are violently erased by the sea, as our lives can change forever in just a day.
Turning The Back Page: Adam sees Anne smiling but it was just a dream, as the alarm clock is ringing. It's time to get up and face the reality: Anne wants to be euthanized. She has the same disease her mother had and she was just a child when it all happened. She says him: "Rip the soul out of me before it starts from within. My mother's path I won't retrace. Better to stop than to fade out". She's so decisive that the only thing he can think about is to give her the courage to do that.
Silence: Adam is speechless while leaving the hospital where Anne has been euthanized.
In A Frame: he remembers when he took some pictures of Anne, the same pictures he now dusts off at night to get relief from pain.
My Lighthouse: he misses her so much, his life starts to be meaningless because she was a guide in the dark.
Downfall: Adam realizes too late he never made a decision in his life and that he was just a puppet controlled by self-confident people.
The White Stairs: Adam decides to make the first decision of his life: to put it to an end, as he sees no future anymore. He's completely insane and while walking, he hear a building saying "Come up here, you'll find all the answers you want". After that, he sees Anne among the stars and so he decides to get nearer to her. The story now returns to the present, when Adam is sitting on the ledge. He stands up and starts hearing his conscience repeating him all his faults: "You didn't have the courage to take center stage at work. You didn't have the courage to give the world a child when you could have. You didn't have the courage to change Anne's mind [...] and now, you don't even have the courage to end it all!”. After that, he loses himself and falls.
He then hears Anne's voice that wakes him up. What happened? A miracle? Reincarnation? Was it all a dream?
The Album title: this album tells a story about choices, about crossroads. So, "4" is not a number but a path that splits in two from the bottom. Unlike the "Y", you choose how to draw its top: connected, unconnected, with two segments of same length or with a shorter one. You don't know where the new path brings you. In addition, you choose how to pronounce it: four, quattro, cuatro, vier...
Have you noticed that:
- the main theme recurs during the whole album and it's composed of 4 notes?
- cancer is the 4th astrological sign?
- in Japan and Korea, 4 has the same pronunciation of the word "death" and in China the sound is very similar?
- Adam decides to lose himself after his conscience tells him the 4th fault?
- Adam and Anne are two 4 letters names?
- the voice on "Traces On The Seaside" tells "You're listening to Soul Secret on Radio 4"? It's just an easter egg, no particular meaning :)
- the only instrumental track is titled "Silence" because Adam was speechless after Anne's death so there are no vocals?