by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


From Middle and Off

Young Galaxy - "Talk To Her". Young Galaxy cut one of my favourite Ultramarine songs from their final edit of the album. "Talk To Her" is too sentimental, maybe; too on-the-nose. But for me the beauty of it is that it's sentimental, right on the nose: like a monologue by Salinger's Zooey or Buddy Glass, like an Annie Lennox song or the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?" Sometimes what we need, as lost & wandering listeners, is the plainest straightest advice. Sometimes we need a mitt full of fortune-cookie slips, a volley of arrows sent straight to our hearts,.

A few days ago, I was arguing with a couple of friends about REM's "Everybody Hurts". I remember one of my teachers pulling it out in eighth grade, using the lyrics as an example in our Poetry unit. I used this as evidence of "Everybody Hurts"' feebleness: verse for eighth-graders, for people who don't even understand what a poem is. But A, J and M had "Everybody Hurts"' back. They weren't going to let it hit the mat. Sure, they said, "Everybody Hurts" seems obvious. But it's true. Not only is it true: it wasn't always so obvious. Before that song existed in the world, it wasn't yet a cliché. Just like the video, which now seems archetypal - it became an archetype when it fit so perfectly into civilization. "Everybody Hurts" is direct, unsubtle; but as Carl Wilson spent a hundred pages discovering, there's a virtue to direct, unsubtle music. It serves a function. At certain times, it sings.

"Talk To Her" is about a million times more subtle, more artful, than "Everybody Hurts". But Catherine McCandless's pearly chorus could be crucial advice for certain eighth-graders (and a fair handful of thirtysomethings). The song doesn't disguise its prescriptions - it holds them up on a splendid platter.

More than that, as almost-always, there's melody, harmony, rhythm & timbre. There's the gorgeous lilting march of this song. It's brittle and diaphonous, glittering and hazy. Pricks of Dan Lissvik's plucked strings, Stephen Kamp's unconfused bass, a whirling and winning final synth. The chorus is a showpiece for Ultramarine's tropical ice, warm springs & space & pastel reflections. It's a hothouse I want to winter in, a frosted dancefloor under a sequinned disco-ball. Earlier, I mentioned Annie Lennox; this time I'm going to come right out and say "Walking On Broken Glass".

"Talk To Her" appears on the Deluxe edition of Ultramarine, which is out now. [buy]

(Images from the incomparable Middle and Off)

Posted by Sean at October 17, 2013 11:59 AM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

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