19 November 2006

new in my top 25

Most played songs in my iPod, that is.

mid-november : johnathan rice
click here or on the image below to listen

A fitting post given that we have just crossed that part of the month. There seems to be so much Johnathan Rice is trying to say in this song, but I can't get through the lyrics. What's the story behind it? While it speaks of war, I can't make out if it's literal. The mention of death and coins on the eyes – a reference to the ancient practice of placing copper coins on the eyes of soldiers who died at war, according to the movie Troy – made me think it is. I have an outrageous theory. The narrator is the spirit of a soldier in a war, wounded and fighting for his life. He visits his loved one, finds her restless in her bed, and wonders if she somehow knows of his condition. This is probably nowhere near what Rice had in mind, but nonetheless I find Mid-November gravely sentimental, especially with that voice that seems to have just been squeezed out of clinical depression. Feel free to share your ideas.

please don't send me away : matthew jay
click here or on the image below to listen

Here's another song that breathes with trouble and secrecy. Following the lyrics, one might immediately look at it as a paternal discourse. But Matthew Jay was not even 24 when he wrote the song – that was his age when he died from falling from the seventh floor of a building – so it might be that it was his conscience, personified by his father, speaking to him. Torment, after all, comes in many voices. I'm not familiar with Jay's life story, but it looks like suicide was never ruled out as a cause of his fall, and I think his family even volunteered the information that he left no note. It's probably just me, but the words, especially the last three lines of the song, read like a self-addressed farewell from someone who expected way too much from himself and failed to meet his own expectations. Ah, but I think I'm being too morbid.

way of the sun : archer prewitt
click here or on the image below to listen

I don't normally like the sound of everyday objects or even nature being used in a song, and the chime or music box effect at the intro of Way Of The Sun is no exception. But the rest of this clever and striking post-apocalyptic song makes it a worthwhile listen. Think of a massive disaster that cost lives and property and imagine people huddled on rooftops waiting for evacuation. That's the image I get from the third and fourth verses of this song. And as if the lyrics aren't enough to hint at salvation, "Ave Maria" is invoked. I thought it was an unnecessary turn, but here I am talking about it, which means it did its job of calling attention to itself. But what follows after that – a series of claps – is a charming melodic transition to the gradual, restrained ending of the song.

Anyway. I'll try to post newer songs next. I'm off to get Teitur's latest album. I can't wait.

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