Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hitting Shuffle (Episode 5)

My wife loves IRON AND WINE. If she could write a soundtrack to a movie it would definitely include at least two songs by him. There are fewer things more certain in life than her love for Samuel Bean. But this post is less about the band than the song itself that I landed on for this episode of "Hitting Shuffle" because I had never actually listened to it prior to writing about it. This is somewhat difficult trying to capture an instant response to something that you are experiencing for the first time.

"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" off of "The Sheperd's Dog" album is a quasi blues shuffle with Bean's usual hushed vocals. The acoustic guitar is the anchor of the song with a soft piano (I think) accompaniment that seems as if it was recorded live. The addition of a cello at the halfway point creates a melancholy tonal shift that at first is not really noticeable until you really pay attention during the bridge.

(note: I had to cheat and look up the lyrics to see what the hell he was talking about). Bean recalls a lot of Paul Simon in his lyrical takes on things. He is awfully abstract but has said on more than one occasion that this record was meant as his take on politics in America. The song seems to be a dig at the leadership of the time with the couplet, "When they caught the king beneath the borrowed car, righteous, drunk and fumbling for the keys."

I can see why so many get so excited about his work. It has depth and passion. It has the same lyrical beauty of Dylan but without the hype. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon discovery.

No comments: