Sammy the Seal

“Like all sacrificial virgins, we all burn in different ways”

In vinyl on Wednesday, 8 February, 2012 at 14:11


Song: Nightingale/December Song
Artist: Sunset Rubdown
Album: Dragonslayer

Every time I feel like doing this song, I change my mind by the time I get home. But I can resist no longer! This song is as lovely and as moving as anything. You can’t really tell by the gallop of the opening minute, though. I like initial the vibe, it’s almost ominous, what with that weird instrument, then the tom-toms/bongo/whatever, and that other weird sound 0:42-0:49. But then the guitar creeps up in the mix, and then in come the keys. Oh my, the keys in this song. The organ in the first verse, the delicate, quaint, warm piano in the second. And the organ solo, my god, the organ solo!!! A slightly creepy, dingy, and heavenly melody. I’m crying inside, I’m that deeply stirred. Thank you, Spencer Krug, from the bottom of my heart, for making it a minute long. We all know he’s kind of a weirdo, but good songwriting is good songwriting, and I’ll be goddamned if his vocal delivery isn’t straight from his heart. The way his vibrato pushes “embers” to the sky at 4:28 fucking kills. Whether or not you know what a song is about, vocals like that make you sing along as if you actually know, and this is another example. That and strong, well-written melody and steady, propulsive rhythm and percussion. My favorite sweeping vaguely futuristic yet antiquated tribal church folk anthem.

Compared to Spencer Krug’s usual lyrical flights of fancy, this is rather straightforward, but either, it’s still affecting. I’m not sure if it’s a friend or a lover he’s talking about, but the themes and imagery are so stark and sad. And intelligible! No mumbling esoterica, it’s all out in the open. The better to sing along with.

La parole:

“So let me hammer this point home I see us all as lonely fires that have burned alive as long as we remember but like all fireworks and and all sunsets we all burn in different ways you are a vast explosion and I am the embers and though your flames are quick and mean they will not last the year but expire like a sudden falling star that only nightingales had seen before migrating to southern jungles and in this way you will come find me in December (da da da) he said he’d like to move to Nashville to master the guitar where he would live a single day the way I live a single year covered his body in mud went hunting for the sun then went swimming in a lake of holy water oh you are too hot for me I am too slow for you you are a vast explosion and I’m the embers you need the one who slowly burns and burns to stay alive and in this way you will come find me in December (oh oh oh) so let me hammer this point home I see us all as lonely fires that have burned alive as long as we remember but like all sacrificial virgins we all burn in different ways you are a vast explosion and I’m the embers and though your flames are quicker than me they will not last the year but expire like a sudden shooting star that only nightingales had seen before transforming into bluebirds and in this way you will come find me in December”

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