Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colder Weather

Well, it's a winding road
when you're in the lost and found.
You're a lover, I'm a runner,
and we go round and round.

This is the heart of the story the Zac Brown Band tells in Colder Weather, the latest song I can't stop listening to.

Like many a song of loneliness and loss on the road, it sounds gorgeous. Every musical detail, from the instrumental arrangement to the vocal harmonies to the melody, is as exquisite as I've ever heard.

Unlike many a song of loneliness and loss on the road, the road isn't the storytelling device. We get a couple of vignettes, first hers, then his. In both vignettes, we get details that we can see -- taillights shining through a window pane, a night as black as a cup of coffee -- so that this story feels lived in.

There's a highly expressive vocal bridge after the verses, and structurally, it's a rather conventional climax to the song. It does deliver an effective emotional payoff.

Nothing else in the song works quite as well as the emotionally devastating coda. There's enough ambiguity here that we're unsure if the guy is about to climb into his car again to wander after another phone call to her, or if he's standing next to her grave, remembering and regretting.

I'm with your ghost again,
It's a shame about the weather...

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