Wanting (It) To Work
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.


Okkervil River - "It Ends With A Fall"

There are a few Okkervil River songs that I like a lot, and a few others that I like significantly less. This is not so unusual, I suppose.

Sheff is undoubtedly a gifted songwriter with a penchant for heartbreaking melody and an uncanny ability to underscore those melodies with subtly blended arrangements. He also manages the impressive feat of writing lyrics that sound like they came into being with the song - not before or after. But sometimes he pushes too hard with his voice, screams over the band, blows apart the confidently written, arranged, performed songs, with uncomfortably, embarrassingly raw vocals. The band is at their best, as in ?It Ends With A Fall,? when the rawness and vulnerability emerge organically from the emotional force of the music. On this track his voice never breaks apart completely, but only wavers, and when it does so, the organs have already made us feel the undoing in our chest. Sheff doesn?t rip out his heart and pummel us with it; he simply shows us something, invites us to empathize, and we do.


Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band - "Van Dieman's Land"

Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band have in common with the Fairport Convention:

1. A bassist

2. The use of traditional folk-songs of England in combination with rock instrumentation to forge a new kind of music.

3. Jangling guitars.

4. Gifted female vocalists whose voices cut through the rock din and preserved the pastoral feudal Englishness of the songs.


Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band differ from the Fairport Convention most notably in this way:

Whereas Denny?s voice is clear as day, Collins?s is overcast, cold and mossy. In this way her voice can at first seem more dated, but also communicates something unique in folk-rock. As Alan Lomax put it: ?What comes through is sincerity, purity... Here one occasionally has that rarest of musical experiences - hearing a young girl singing in the house or garden, dreaming of love.?

Posted by Jordan at January 11, 2005 4:31 AM

Jordan - You and I seem to be on the same wavelength. Cheers.

Posted by jennifer at January 11, 2005 12:51 PM

At the exact same time I read the part about the lyrics and music coming into the world together, I heard part of the song which made me understand it immediately.

Posted by Zak at January 11, 2005 8:12 PM

See also the great video for "It Ends with a Fall" here:

Posted by lalitree at January 12, 2005 1:50 PM

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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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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.
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our favourite blogs
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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
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The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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