Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Here I Dreamt I Was A Decemberist

Ok I've never been in the position of thanking Meth addicts for anything, but if it weren't for some of them jonesing down in Portland and needing to steal some stuff to buy more junk I may never have gotten into the Decemberists.

This past spring I decided to go see a friend from Pullman and her band play in Seattle. They were playing as part of a multi-band benefit for a band from Portland Oregon that had recently had most of their gear stolen. As part of the gig, each band played a set and in it played one song from the band the proceeds this show was for, The Decemberists. Each time a band played a Decemberists tune I took note and by the end I was blown away by the level of writing that had gone into their songs, I had to hear more of them!

Since then I've become damn near obsessed with their music. Colin Meloy doesn't just write songs, he creates these wonderful universes that lets the subject not only live in, but allows the listener to enter and roam around a bit. It is also nice to hear him use such a rich language when any word would suffice, Meloy often picks words that make the listener reach for a dictionary or into their past to remember a definition that was lost to time.

Can't really say that I have a favorite song, although "Shiny" is damn close. Each song conjurs up such wonderful memories, that I cherish each differently. Ok I have been listening to "Red Right Ankle", "Clementine", "On The Bus Mall" and "I Was Meant For The Stage" a ton lately but that could be said of a number of other wonderful Decemberist songs.

Tonight I found myself in tears listening to "The Engine Driver", from day one this song has struck deep in me..I've heard songs that express what I feel or think, but this song reach down and with a few words said EXACTLY what has been weighing me down in my progress with my writings/screenplay. I've tried to convey both my story and my frustrations in telling that story to family and friends. The first time I heard his lyrics I felt a great wave of relief come over me because some else has felt this. Here is an excerpt:
The Engine Driver

"And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones"


At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Aun"T" said...

I see by your profile that you like Dylan's music, how about an article regarding that. I personally love his stuff.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger William A. Smith said...

Dylan is obviously a huge influence on me musically, his music is relevant to this day and will continue to be for those who hear him that first time for years to come. Without him as a foundation I don't know if I would fully appreciate the Decemberists.

It's true I could write about Dylan, but there are far more who have written far better on the subject. Comparitively few know about the Decemberists and in my view that is a shame. Simply put the writing is brilliant, ranging from a song about two mariners trapped in the belly of a whale ... to life amongst carnies & gypies... to a beautiful but heartbreaking song about young gay runaway prostitutes. Meloy takes the listener to unique settings and with incredible skill.

I may write about Dylan at a later date but in the meantime I hope people check out the Decemberists and give them a listen :)

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Aun"T" said...

I'll give them a listen. Keep up the good work!


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