James Iha – To Who Knows Where

Things can change a lot in 14 years.  Things can change a lot in two.  One minute you’re dancing around to something called “Nu Rave” that’s come out of the woodwork and the next it’s all about ironic hip hop and fidget house.  It’s hard to keep up with the ridiculous names let alone the musical genres.

So when you hear that James Iha has released a solo single after 14 years, it’s pretty exciting right?  Well, it is but if anyone returned after 14 years, it would be big news.  George Micheal didn’t even wait that long and look at the hoo-hah surrounding him on his return.  He got to do two songs at the Olympics.


James Iha comes to us with To Who Knows Where; a moody song with gentle lyrics.  At the start, the song could almost be something by the Foo Fighters but Iha’s soft vocals claim it back.  It’s not an instant hit, more like a something you’ll find yourself humming in the rain on your way to the bus stop.

It’s a fairly singer-songwriter track and almost hits all the right boxes.  Is it melancholic?  Yes.  Is it written from the heart?  Yes.  Is there a girl involved?  Well, there’s one in the video.  Is it meaningful?  Probably, but Iha’s vocals aren’t too clear.  It’s a beautiful melody but if he just opened his mouth a bit more, we would get to hear the potentially evocative words and may help us make more sense of the video which reminds me of The Mighty Boosh episode where they are searching for the lost sound.

Mellow and melancholic, Iha evokes all sorts; even if we can’t quite understand it, there’s a sense of promise running throughout To Who Knows Where and may be just the song to bring you to tears if you’re alone with a bottle of gin.  Even if he hasn’t come back with a bang, To Who Knows Where leaves you wondering what else he has up his album sleeve (geddit?).

Amelia Murray

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