Hand in unloveable hand
by Emma
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.


The Mountain Goats - "No Children"
Johnny Cash & June Carter - "Jackson"
Rupert Holmes* - "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"

Sometimes love is like this. Other times it's like a drunk fistfight with your best friend in a parking lot: locked together, aching and winded and so so so mad about anything. If you don't stop you'll die, but if you stop, you'll die. Some songs are about the eternal flame of your love burning its outline into the night sky; others are like that but it's a tire fire. This is next-level, black belt, white-knuckle being-with-others business, no doe-eyed beginners allowed.

It's hard to write a concise, catchy jam about how someone who once sucked the clouds out of the sky with just their look now seems to you like stripped wire, a loose jumble of stray flaws described by a narrative you can no longer see for its proximity or its distance or its both. It's tough to tell a story in three and a half minutes when that story is that you've worn through this one with your pacing - that you couldn't stop even if you wanted to, if you even knew what you wanted. These three are all kinda shambling, boozy, hilarious, a little anthemic - but with something way harder coiled tight under the surface. Sharp and sure and frantic and sweet and way lost, years past plain loving or angry or sad. The night air's like glass in your lungs, your wallet's long gone, some dude on the corner's squinting at you guys with his cellphone like should I call somebody or? Eventually you'll catch your breath, tomorrow you'll spend picking the gravel out of your elbows with shame and a pair of tweezers, but right now, what else are you going to do? Quitting's for suckers.

[buy Tallahassee / Duets / Partners in Crime]

*Look, I know you think I'm fucking with you, but when is the last time you really listened to it? Do this now, for me, just this once. Please? Look past the shag carpet, the hot tub, the swingy guitars, because all that stuff is masking a vocabulary and a narrative structure that reach near-Albee levels of intricate chaos and tension and self-contained, cracked logic. The world of this thing just drops into your lap, fully formed: Health food? Yoga? At a bar called O'Malley's? If you have half a brain? IN THE DUNES OF THE CAPE? Are you kidding me? This song is insane. The woman is so fed up with her bullshit life, with this flinchy man and their dumpy two-bit town, and meanwhile our narrator may be a perfect lens but he personally possesses zero chill. Like, oh, you know me so well I'm a "worn-out recording" but also you had no idea I enjoy the taste of champagne? Cool. Very cool. If you can't hear a chorus of pathos, of dropped shoulders and bitter cheap cigarette drags in the way Holmes and his beard intone that last "oh, it's you" then I don't know what to tell you, I truly don't.

Posted by Emma at February 20, 2015 7:27 AM

Thanks for posting the Holmes, and for your comments about the structuring of the song.
Have you listened to Richmond Fontaine's album "High Country"? You might enjoy its efforts to push song lyricism...

Posted by J at February 20, 2015 11:26 AM

Thank you for that footnote. This made my snowy Saturday.

Posted by Kate at February 21, 2015 8:32 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
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.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

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.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
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.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny