There's something about Devendra Banhart you can't put your finger on. Becuase your finger's turned into a talon or a claw or a hoof and the song you were trying to pin down has squirmed away under the table, or has turned into a gaseous dream vapour and floated out the window. He's got a scattered, witchy, completely original voice that whispers little kid secrets, then belts passionately with a heart been done-wronged, then tries to put on the withered seduction of a wrinkled hag lost on an island for years. Then comes the workaday little chorus. La dee da dee AH! How does this song still remain so allusive, so cooool, after so many listens? I got no clue. Do you?
available on CD - Oh Me Oh My How the Days Go By
14 Jan 04 ·executiveslacks: I know exactly what you're talking about. I have that album as well and there's something - although I don't know what - that makes me keep putting it back on. It must be that voice. For the longest time, I couldn't even tell if Devendra was a guy or girl.
It's manic. Snapped wires. Screaming at the boxcars as they go by. Kid listened to too many Joy Division records in high school and not only did he pick up an attraction to crazy, but he learned how to freak out to that crazy in melody as well. And freak out he does. But he'll tell you why he's freaking out, he'll make you feel it too. And turns out, he has good reason to freak out. Dude's in deep with a bad chick who's, well, she's pretty bad. He waits until the chorus before shrieking for help, "She can't read!" There are those intimate little details that make you realize he's caught in this relationship, he's in love, he loves crazy, he's not getting out any time soon. "It's in the way she pulls it." and the amazing line, "Her stories are boring and stuff /she's always calling my bluff." Sears my frickin' heart.
14 Jan 04 ·executiveslacks: I wanted to hate Interpol, but simply couldn't after hearing this song.
This is a strange song and it hits me in a strange place. The melody is very pretty, yet complex and unexpected and there are odd washes of moog at times. It's a Christmas song and has a Christmas feeling but not the familiar fireside one. Instead it's the cold alien blank expanse of snow and that pulse of stars. Kate Bush is a genius at creating this precise, complicated emotional terrain. Also, being a genius requires you to risk making a fool of yourself and Kate Bush certainly isn't afraid to do that. She's like that eccentric high school drama teacher I never had. In this song she turns herself into the snow that falls over the white city. "Jumpin' down with my paraCHUTE! Oh see how I fall."
20 Feb 04 ·jeanette: I always think that this kind of christmas song just isn't done enough. It is a great song anyway, but what makes it even better is that it has this unusual view of the festive season - that it's not just about being jolly / feeling downbeat / singing about how "so much has happened in a year" etc etc. Kate Bush of course is mistress of the offbeat lyric and it's nice that she found a way to marry it to a christmas tune.
Memory's a funny thing. Especially romantic memory.
The first time I heard this song was two days after the first time I fell in love. Everywhere I went, I sang its earnest chorus "And you are always on my mind" in my head, thinking about the one I was in love with. In the shower staring at a bottle of hair conditioner, I sang, "You are always on my mind". On the subway, trying to ignore a potential fistfight about to break out, I sang, "You are always on my mind". In the supermarket produce section, holding the perfect shape of a lemon in my hand, I sang, "You are always on my mind". I was giddy and happy and the song understood. "Hey!" the song said, "Hey!" Will Oldman sang, "I got a new partner now!"
But jacket weather set in and things grew colder and we broke up and I was miserable and I stored the CD away on a top shelf with other memorabilia of that love who's happy power was really freakin' painful for me to think about now.
Things weren't always so bleak and I got me a new love and some years later, when I listened to the song again, I noticed something about the lyrics I hadn't before. See, in reality, the song isn't joyous at all. Will Oldman is singing about a past love, a love who is always on his mind when all the time he is seeing another girl, a different girl from the one always on his mind. He can't be with that girl. He has a new partner now. What I thought was a song about new joy was a song about nostalgic loss.
I didn't see how it was possible that I had suppressed that true meaning for as long as I had, considering how often I sang the song and how much it meant to me at the time. I knew the lyrics like the back of my hand and when I listen to music I dredge up all I can get from the lyrics like I'm a devout scribe interpreting the bible.
One of the beauties of pop songs is that they take on the flavour of your life at the time you listened to them and carry that flavour on to whenever you listen to the song again, while meanwhile you're morphing and changing and discarding what songs you don't want to remember that you loved and making mixed Cd's for long cartrips of the songs you do you do want to remember. This song is weird in that IT seemed to be the one that was morphing the next time I heard it and not me, like it was a person that had changed over time that I was encountering again.
Besides which, what a fucking lovely song it is.
from Viva Last Blues
04 May 04 ·olli: now THAT's what i call a recommendation.
I�m gonna have to find and soak this up now... 06 May 04 ·olli: beautiful song. i've been a sporadic fan of will oldham related stuff for some years now, but hadn�t heard this until now. thanks!
hmm. on a side note, this is the 666th american release that has been recommended here. i might be a bit childish, but i was hoping that number would go to some really, really bad contemporary pop music. Hey, you can't always get what you want:) 15 Feb 05 ·fjell_strom: This song was the soundtrack to my incorrigible devotion to a lovely young girl when I myself was a bit younger. I used to listen to this tune repeatedly in my tiny little newly discovered room in the immensely overwhelming new land in which I found myself during the adventure which was to last the next four years, wandering Europe by my heartstrings. This was the song. I used to drink gin martinis to it. And eat the olive. And shudder because winter had come to my little home, and she was always, at least as often as the song played, on my mind.
Sweet fuck, what pure morning joy. I get a maximalist bliss-out every time I play this. But then, wait, what's that weird jazzy comeback at the end of the song? It's like an army of ghosts of all the happinesses I've ever had coming back to haunt me. It's too much. Holy cow, it's a beautiful day.