Sammy the Seal


In vinyl on Friday, 29 July, 2011 at 11:47

Song: Big Dipper
Artist: Built to Spill
Album: There’s Nothing Wrong With Love

Early Built to Spill, in all their ragged, shambolic (though not really) glory. The song could have easily been two-and-a-half or three minutes long and been just fine, but fortunately, Doug and the boys let the instrumentals stew sloppily for a full minute before bringing in the last verse. Lots to love here:

  • 0:00
  • the way “when I was little” sets up and informs the light-hearted, almost innocent tone of the song
  • the languid vocal style
  • Doug Martsch realizing that one “that” was not enough in the “Jack thought it twice” line
  • the small, poignant insight: “some brains just work that way, that’s what chemicals can do”
  • Doug repping for Idaho (sort of) with the Albertson’s stir-fry dinner
  • the screeching at the end of the last verse
  • the tiny instrumental tics, twitches, and flourishes that give this relatively easy-going song a slightly nervous, unconventional energy, and also its heart
  • the simplicity of the song

Man, that’s some brilliant fucking feel-good. Sometimes making an indie pop classic is as simple as an uncomplicated melody that bores itself into your head and extends its claws.

Happy Friday


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