Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Trevor Powers, you raided my soul.

I have been listening to the Youth Lagoon album "The Year of Hibernation" at work a lot while burning through piles of transcripts and request e-mails. I find it uplifting and helpful when I need to rise above the tedium. One of my few complaints with the album is that I can't readily understand what the lead singer is saying and I'm a very lyrically-driven listener.

The songs on this album are similarly structured and usually start quiet, progressively adding layers of sound, instruments, and volume. They are built around major chord structures and so it's a positively dreamy album, a la Camera Obscura, except with falsetto male vocals and less retro sound. Good driving beats on the toms too.

It's not what I would listen to to get my engine running in the morning but it's a great background soundtrack, as I have mentioned already. So today during a spare moment when I was marvelling at the beautiful sonic swell in the last two minutes of the track "July" I thought, I should look into what this guy is actually saying. This is what I found:

Explosions pillaging the night
From the fireworks on the fourth of July
It's just my lady, our friends, and I
Smoking cigars and yelling at cars as they drive by

We scaled a ladder ascending to the roof
While five years ago I wept and no one knew
Holding my guitar, I strummed a tune
I sang "I love you but I have to cut you loose"

As the neighbor lights off the small bombs we watch
from the rooftop... safely, so safely

If I had never let go, then only God knows where I would be now
I made a bridge between us then I slowly burned it
Five years ago, in my backyard I sang love away
Little did I know that real love had not quite yet found me

Now, tomorrow is the 4th of July. I will be on a rooftop at some point tomorrow night. There will be fireworks, and my heart has the same conclusion in it as this song ends with. If you know me (which you probably do because no one who doesn't know me reads this) you may know something about my love life though I'm pretty private about it in conversation. I only talk to my blog, apparently (sidenote: yikes...). Anyway, Trevor Powers (YL's mastermind) must have gone through something a lot like I did for him to be able to write this. This just reinforces my deep respect for people who can create such beautiful expressions for conveying sentiment and set them to a melody. I've included a link to the song below. Enjoy listening to a little bit of my soul being sung.

July by Youth Lagoon on Grooveshark

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Head and the Heart at 9:30 Club - Thursday June 28

I knew that I loved this band the second I heard their song "Lost in my Mind"'s chorus.

I also knew that they have their finger on the pulse of something beyond this life. I'm not sure they're overtly Christian, but their lyrics and the beautiful melodies they produce definitely point me heavenward.

However, it wasn't until tonight, seeing them live, that I really got what a journey of redemption their eponymous album of 2011 is. If played in order, you get three very distinctive sections that tell the story of the saving of a soul, simply, in a straightforward and earthy way.

The lyrics I have extracted here show three clear stages - 1) The Fall 2) The Redirect 3) The Move In

Part 1 - The Fall

1. Cats and Dogs :
"Fallin' from the sky
There are raindrops in my eyes
And my thoughts are diggin' in the backyard
My roots have grown but I don't know where they are"

2. Coeur d'Alene:
"What will become of these gestures that we made
I've given up my Bible, you moved out of state"

3. Ghosts:
"Andy built his coffin down in Carolina
Told me he was runnin' from somethin'
But I think he's just out chasin' girls

When Mary moved all of her shit to Chicago
Her mother made sure that she left with her Bible but
You won't find her face on Sundays"

Part 2: The Redirect
(This is where the album really hits its stride, in my opinion)

4. Down in the Valley
"Down in the valley with
Whiskey rivers
These are the places you will find me hidin'
These are the places I will always go
Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways"

5. Honey Come Home:
"Honey, come home
My stubborn ways are behind me now
They're behind me now

And there's nothing here
That will not break down"

6. Lost in my Mind:
"How's that bricklayin' comin'?
How's your engine runnin'?
Is that bridge gettin' built?
Are your hands gettin' filled?
Won't you tell me, my brother?

'Cause there are stars
Up above

We can start
Moving forward"

Part 3 - The Move In

7. Winter Song
"We're just prayin' that we're doin' this right
Though that's not the way it seems"

8. Sounds Like Hallelujah:
"I'm not walkin' away
I'm just hearin' what you're sayin'
For the first time
Sounds like hallelujah"

9. Heaven Go Easy on Me
"God, what are we doin'?
Can't live this way forever

My sister and my brother
Look to me for answers
And our fathers and our mothers
Wanna know they raised us right
Wanna know they raised us right"

10. Rivers and Roads:
"A year from now we'll all be gone...

Rivers and roads
Rivers and roads
Rivers till I reach you"

Even though they didn't play the songs in order at 9:30 club on Thursday night, I can say with truth that it was an incredibly worshipful experience for me. It took a while for me to get into the spirit and I think it took a few songs for the band to really warm up too. But once they did, and once I did, the communion of music and worship with the beautiful lyrics I have sampled above made for a very memorable evening. They played soulfully and from the heart. And their lyrics show that they have clearly used their heads. I think the band has found a very appropriate name for themselves and I look forward to the next time we meet.

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