I bought this album on the strength of the song Be Good Or Be Gone (above), which I found thanks to a cryptic comment by Roee on an earlier post. It’s a rare example of a song that burrowed into my brain from the moment I heard it — usually I have to listen to a song three or five or ten times before I start to get it. And it has staying power: six months on, I still love the song and still find myself absent-mindedly singing random snippets of it around the house.
Why do I love it? Well, there’s that super-catchy acoustic guitar riff, of course — which I have tried to learn to play, so far without success. (I don’t know why: it’s not that hard, but somehow my fingers just don’t want to know.) But there’s also something very appealing about the starkness of the arrangement, which is literally just a guitar, Regan’s distinctive, wispy voice drifting in and out of the song, and the occasional line of harmony vocal. That takes courage: the sparseness lets the song itself speak.
And then there is the lyric, which does not so much tell a story or even describe an emotion, but seems to consist of near-random impressionistic comments that evoke a mood of what can only be called mildly optimistic regret. It’s hard to know what a line like “I have become an aerial view / Of a coastal town that you once knew” actually means, but it’s easy to feel it.
But what of the rest of the album? Truth to tell, none of the other songs have grabbed me like Be Good Or Be Gone, and despite having listened to all of the album eight times I would struggle to sing even scraps of most of the songs. I can’t quite say why that is. Whenever I listen to the album I like it — all of it — it’s just that it doesn’t seem to leave an imprint. Hopefully that will change as I continue to listen in 2012.