Saturday, September 12, 2015

Song of the Day #199 - Julia Holter - Sea Calls Me Home

I can't swim, it's lucidity so clear

I alluded to listening to this album yesterday... I'm going through a backlog of like twenty albums that built up during the busy time at the end of my last school term. This one was near the start cause /mu/ was hyping it up a bunch but now maybe I made a mistake because it feels like I'm not gonna want to listen to anything else anytime soon lol.

It was one of those albums that I had on in the background while I worked on other stuff, and I just kept replaying it... when I got to the end, I'd think about what else I should listen to, and then immediately realize that whatever I could think of, I'd probably just want to listen to this instead, and I'd cue it up from the top again. A result of this sort of listening-habit, which happens to me pretty often, is that I get a lot of distinct and good memories of specific parts, and anticipation of sequences, but a poor sense of like... which song has which parts, or even which songs are at the start or the end of the album. So much so, that after like 4 or 5 repetitions (also accentuated by the fact that we were getting into the "is the sun coming up?" AMs, the real sleep dep hours), when I tried to remember which song had this chorus, I assumed that it must be one of the 6+ minute songs, and probably pretty close to the end.

Such is the power of this song! Wow, what an incredible banger! It has that quality that becomes so refined and apparent in the most bangerous of bangers: confidence! Like let's really break this down because it's pretty simple but every aspect is awesome: First, there's that little harpsichord intro, and she starts singing like immediately over top of it, a confident, progressive line, switching into the first repetition of "When the sea called me, when the sea called me home" as she settles into a lower register, and those choral accompaniments... This is all anticipation-based writing imo, this is writing that works through your memory of what's to come. And then we get the chorus, which has the same appeal as the chorus of "Running Up That Hill", and I don't think I can explain it any better than that. Another verse, again, playing largely based on anticipation, which becomes so beautiful and palpable when you hear that "When the sea calls me home", and you know what's coming but you DON'T, you get WHISTLING instead, whistling that only hints at the beast of a chorus your brain is feverishly recreating for itself, and then, after that, a SAXOPHONE SOLO? Holy moly is this 2011 and we're listening to "Midnight City" for the first time again? Cause no kidding this is about the most excited I've been about electro-indie since then (hyperbole). Okay and then after that, guess what it is? Over top of everything else that's been established over the chorus of the song? It's that chorus again! Holy moly!

And then after that, somehow, still, within just 3 minutes, a beautiful poetic little outro:

I hear small words from the shore
No recognized pattern

Wow sheesh. We're almost at 200 songs of the day (we'll do a big pointless retrospective tomorrow, don't worry), I feel like I am getting better at writing about music in a meaningful and entertaining way (hopefully you think so too!) but things like this just go way beyond what I'm capable of. Can anyone explain why that chorus is so good? I can say things like "triumphant" or "banger" but they're just words. I can say things about "simultaneous movement" and "juxtaposition" but those are just things. There's something else, something beyond. Luckily you can just listen to it and experience it yourself! But I'm still gonna keep trying, I think.

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