Apologies To The Queen Mary

Catching Up On The Week (Oct. 2 Edition)

Some #longreads for your weekend reading pleasure…

We have now reached the point that the music press is holding celebrations for 15th anniversaries, but when it comes to albums like Radiohead’s Kid A, we do not mind indulging in that kind of silliness.  Rob Sheffield has an appreciative essay of the now-legendary record for Rolling Stone and Steven Hyden of Grantland explains how years before the innovative release of In Rainbows that Radiohead was already on the cutting edge of music and technology, with the band streaming the album weeks before its physical release.

The other major topic of the week is Max Martin, one of several Scandinavian musicians who are responsible for most of the pop hits that have infiltrated the airwaves for the past fifteen years.  The New Yorker looks at the man himself, The Atlantic takes a look at the pop-songwriting-manufacturing process, and Consequence of Sound takes a look at Martin’s career in a more easily digestible listicle form complete with video highlights.

While Martin may be helping to create a monopoly in some respects in the field of pop music, GarageBand has been said to have a more democratizing effect on the creation of music in general.  Pitchfork has a longform piece on the effects of the software.

In other anniversary news, this week marks the twentieth anniversary of Oasis’s mammoth album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and Stereogum puts the album into historical context.  It has always been my preferred Oasis record, namely for the fact that it includes the shameless Beatles rip-off “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, one of my favorite songs of the 90’s.  I will never forget the moment when I saw an entire crowd of people join a street musician in a London tube station sing this song, with not a single person young or old forgetting a line.

We shared with you one remembrance of Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary last week, and we have another piece for you on one of our favorite albums.  Observer offers a behind-the-scenes look at the album, with several stories explaining the meanings and creations of each track.

As for us, we will be catching Titus Andronicus performing at Mississippi Studios tonight, and in preparation for our review you may want to check out the extensive profile of the band courtesy of SPIN.

Catching Up On The Week (Sept. 25 Edition)

Some #longreads as you enjoy the cool autumn weather…

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary, and considering we named this site after a lyric from the album, we think this is a rather significant milestone.  Even after hundreds and hundreds of spins, the album still captivates our attention and remains one of our favorites.  We may write our own appreciation in the future, but for now, feel free to read Stereogum’s appreciation of this classic album.

Fans of grunge will be glad to see that they have plenty to read this weekend.  First, Chris Cornell has an extensive interview with The Stranger, and second, Alternative Nation has drummer Barrett Martin’s liner notes for the reissue of Sweet Oblivion from the Screaming Trees, one of the best and most underrated albums of the 90’s.

Finally, Pitchfork takes a look at the effect that Kanye West’s left turn with 808s & Heartbreak had on contemporary hip-hop.

“That One Part”: “I’ll Believe In Anything”

We’re going to take things a little easy today; the weather has just been too nice outside to spend time typing away on laptops, even if it’s about something that we love like music.  So we’re going to do a quick piece that isn’t a true “Feats of Strength”, but we’re just going to talk about a moment in a song that we really really really like.

Almost a year ago to the day, Pitchfork ran a feature in which they asked their writers to give stories about particular moments in their favorite songs.  I felt that this was a really well-executed piece, and enjoyed reading each of their stories.  The anecdote about a unique performance of The Flaming Lips’ “The Abandoned Hospital Ship” was an especially memorable one, and it is definitely worth reading so you get the backstory behind this electrifying moment.

There is no reason why Pitchfork should have all the fun, so I am picking up on their cue and writing about a specific moment in one of my favorite songs, “I’ll Believe In Anything”.  It should be no surprise that we here at Rust Is Just Right are big fans of Wolf Parade, considering we were inspired to name our site after one of their lyrics.  Their debut Apologies to the Queen Mary is one of the greatest albums of the 00’s, and the climactic run of the trio of “Shine a Light”, “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts”, and “I’ll Believe In Anything” in the middle of the record matches that the peak of any record since then.

“I’ll Believe In Anything” has a nice stately feel that comes across as almost like a gentle gallop, a sensation that’s matched by the Barry Lyndon-esque setting for the video.  The song is punctuated by huge snare hits that accentuate each beat, constantly pushing the music forward as Spencer Krug sings elliptical lyrics about “taking you where nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn.”  After a couple of rounds of verses and choruses, the song truly begins to develop with the bridge at about the 2 minute mark, as Spencer begins to list the various things that he can take or give away.  At 2:10, the bassline on the keyboard jumps down an octave, giving an added weight to the next set of lines as Spencer doesn’t let up in his singing, continuing to build momentum.  It is at this point where there is a subtle shift, a moment where Spencer demands the listener’s attention: “Look at the trees, look at my face, look at a place far away from here.”  He lets that moment hang in the air for a second, and then the band explodes behind him.

I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times, and this specific moment has never failed to give me chills.  Depending on the circumstances, it can have an even greater impact–I regularly jog to this album, and often this song will come on just as I’m reaching the top of a hill, and I can take a quick moment to actually act out the lyrics and survey the scene around me.  There is something to Krug’s particular directions given in the lyrics, which shifts the focus of the audience’s eyes from nature, to humanity, and then beyond, possibly to the future that helps enhance the effect of the song’s climax.  Eyes are actually an important motif in the song: the line “give me your eyes, I need sunshine” is repeated throughout as a sort of mantra, which is a wonderfully eloquent way of asking for someone for the necessary help to brighten up your day.  This early repeated line helps establish an image in the listener’s mind and gives the latter lyrics of the bridge an added significance.  The result is a truly memorable moment whose power never fades, even after hundreds and hundreds of listens.