Will Graefe played me this song one day when we lived together at The Loom in Bushwick. It stuck with me enough that I spontaneously remembered it and dug it up the other day. Beautiful song. It has a natural grace to it that clicks into place for me as soon as that brief electric lead guitar part appears.
There's a lot I could talk about here, but what I love this song most for is the vocal rhythm and phrasing, which is just untouchable. Songs are cousins of those weird rhymes and catchy phrases we all kick around when we're alone in the house and know no one's coming home. All the mystical incantations of children, the neurotic prayers we think in loops and then forget without a trace, the nonsense lyrics that materialize from nowhere to any song that's stuck in your head. Songs come from the same invisible root, and they share some of that mysticism and magic if they're any good. Being smart is nice, but being smart is nothing special.
Here, right from the start, "Indiana Indiana in the cold" becomes an incredibly beautiful phrase, circling and falling back into the dark like a spark from a campfire. Why is Indiana repeated like that? I have no idea, but the repetition makes the line soar. Still, Indiana, who'd have thought? Never a word I looked at twice.
Then, the chorus, damn. That first half tumbles out like an impulsive confession, the two empasized notes in each phrase sailing over the simple guitar picking like a stone skipping on the lake. It sounds so simple and homespun, just two pitches oscillating in the first half, but the way each phrase sits against the grid is different. The phrases are often just under a bar, which gives it that feeling of one big exhale. The whole thing is so sophisticated - as rhythmically intricate as a great MC, overstuffed with alliteration and midline rhymes (the latter criminally underused in any genre besides rap; Joanna Newsom being a rare exception).
I like to gush about what I enjoy but I can almost always find something to be critical about too, because that deep attention is a form of love. I'm going to try to be honest about those critical thoughts in the safe space of this generally appreciative writing because I think the internet echo chamber has terrified me into silence on a lot of things and I want to actively resist that.
That said, damn, this chorus is so fucking good.