I feel like I’ve hit a dead end. Maybe it’s the work/revision-to-life ratio which I’ve been steadily abusing over the past few weeks, maybe it’s the lack of good food in my fridge, maybe this is what studying is all about. Maybe. Whatever it is I definitely think the lack of Vitamin D in my life has made me more susceptible to what I like to describe as ‘songs that just make you go FUCK!’ And, no, I don’t mean ‘songs that just make you go FUCK, THAT DROP WAS HUGE. I mean songs that stop you in your tracks, vocals that wind you, melodies which render you dead to the world for a few brief minutes.
I don’t usually stop to listen to music, I feel uncomfortable. I have to be doing something, be it writing, reading or browsing the internet. If I’m reviewing something I really have to focus and get myself ready before I listen. But sometimes I simply can’t dictate my reception of the song, sometimes it just grabs you, and stares at you in the face until it’s done talking.
Iron & Wine’s cover of Such Great Heights is one of these songs. I think I over-listened to it when I first bought his B-sides record Around The Well, but it popped up in an article I was reading, and it was like listening to it for the first time. I was completely struck dead. I can’t exactly describe what it is about the way Sam Beam plucks his strings, but there is a warmth, a vast tenderness about it, whilst his breathy voice wafting over the top haunts. I have a terribly personal bond with Beam’s voice, seared into the memory of my summer ’08 and the folkic blends of his Woman King EP. Somehow, this cover manages to blend these memories with the inherent magic of the original into one jaw-dropping, dead-in-your-tracks song.