Fathom: (in this context) verb 1 understand after much thought: I can’t fathom him out. 2 measure the depth of.
To the furnace for shade to the dust for a drink
Logic’s mad and shame doesn’t care what you think
The ocean’s dry it’s only a phantom that you fathom
But the flood comes from the desert
(Sam Phillips, ‘Raised On Promises’)
I need a much longer column to expound on the many and varied talents of Sam Phillips, the former Christian recording artist who ‘went secular’ and recorded some of the finest and most inventive singer-songwriter pop brilliance of the 1990s. This song eventually appeared on her superb 1991 album, Cruel Inventions, which is still one of my most-loved albums to this day, and which was followed by the immaculate and well-polished Martinis and Bikinis in 1994, which should’ve ensured her stardom in a fair and just world. While major album sales never eventuated, Phillips went on producing intelligent pop music throughout the 90s and 2000s, and has more recently earned a decent crust writing music for the Gilmore Girls TV programme. Here’s some footage from a 1988 live performance that shows off her distinctive voice and indicates that Raised On Promises had been around for a few years before Cruel Inventions came out. What a great song.