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Return to the “tides”: Vance Joy ponders parallels between new song “Missing Piece” & breakout hit, “Riptide”

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Credit: Will Morrissey

Vance Joy opens his new single, “Missing Piece,” with the line, “I’ve been waiting for the tides to change,” which will undoubtedly remind fans of the Australian singer-songwriter’s breakout hit, “Riptide.” As it turns out, Vance himself felt the same way.

Speaking with ABC Audio, Vance reveals he was initially hesitant about that particular lyric when his “Missing Piece” co-writer and producer, Joel Little, came up with it.

“It was funny, when he said that, I was, like, ‘Tides? Can I [sing] about tides?'” Vance recalls. “And I was, like, ‘Well, I guess ‘tides changing’ is a good thing.'”

“I’m happy to put it in another song,” Vance adds. “Hopefully another memorable song that has that word in it just to spread the love a bit over some other songs.”

While “Riptide” was a much dreamier, metaphor-laden song compared to the more earnest and straightforward “Missing Piece,” they both end up in similar places. In “Riptide,” Vance finds himself yearning to be someone’s “left-hand man,” and in “Missing Piece,” he discovers that when he’s in a room with that special person, “that missing piece is found.”

Vance explains that he’s often “not aware” of parallels between his own songs as he’s writing them, but shares that he’s “always gravitated towards” the idea of “people being separated and wanting to be together.” He credits that in part to the Australian musician Paul Kelly‘s song “To Her Door” as a particular influence in that regard.

“That storyline of overcoming obstacles and reuniting…that longing and yearning, I’ve always felt like that is appearing in my songs as a theme, probably not even consciously,” Vance says. “I think it’s there for sure.”

“Missing Piece,” Vance Joy’s first new solo song in three years, is out now.

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