Friday, February 11, 2005

Obscure Song No. 2: "As You Turn to Go"

My second in this occasional series is another soft ballad: "As You Turn to Go."

It comes from a record called Hyacinths and Thistles produced by The Sixths, but in truth this is Stephin Merritt gathering together a collection of artistes to deliver yet more of his poignant analyses of love and life. This particular track - the first on the H&T album - is sung by Momus (from Paisley ... what is it about me and Paisley?!) and has one of the most heartbreaking vocals imaginable.

Musically --- well, how many times do you get a zither in modern music? It's also short - less than 2 minutes. But it's brevity enhances its beauty. And lyrically... well, always a sucker for good poetry, for a well-expressed sentiment, I was struck by the words as much as the arrangement of this track.
I know you've had more lovers than Mata Hari,
but you know you're the star of my life story
...and I'm so sorry
I got hold of this track completely on a whim. I had been hearing some random tracks by Stephin Merritt and at the time was struggling to get a copy of 69 Love Songs. So when I found this in my beloved Selectadisc, and saw the magic name of SM, I immediately purchased it: unheard and unheard of before I found it in the Magnetic Fields section of the store. Of course, those who know the H&T album will know the CD booklet features the lyrics in coloured writing, so I'm afraid I did break the cardinal rule of reading song lyrics in advance. When I rushed home and put it on, the track just blew me away and Cloud and I listened to it with eyes glistening and throat drying. The whole album feels like a collection of modern-day torch songs, and if you've ever loved at a distance or saw a loved one walk away, then this will touch your soul.

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