This post marks the second entry of a new feature here at Rhombus: the song of the day. In an effort to bring you great music, both local and otherwise, and fulfill our goal of helping you expand your musical horizons to include the best artists available, we will pass along one Rhombus-approved song each and every day for your listening pleasure (barring global catastrophe.) These entries will be shorter than our normal articles, but we will do our best to provide you with the context and reasoning behind why we feel the included song is worthwhile and/or relevant to you. That being said, we hope you come back every day to check out a new song and enjoy reading Rhombus as much as we enjoy writing it. — Steve Pierce, Editor
The National and St. Vincent, “Sleep All Summer”
I was turned onto this excellent cover just recently by one of my favorite writers, Nick Hornby, via his blog. It’s a mystery how I had remained ignorant of its existence before then: The National and St. Vincent are two of my favorite artists and the mere possibility of them collaborating somewhere in the world should have made my ears perk up like a Doberman hearing an inaudible dog whistle. (These things just happen sometimes.) That being said, the original version of “Sleep All Summer” was written and recorded by Crooked Fingers a few years back and is a formidable bit of musicianship in its own right.
However, this National/St. Vincent version — featured on SCORE!, a compilation celebrating the 20th anniversary of indie label Merge Records — surpasses the original in my mind. The voices of The National’s Matt Berninger and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark meld together beautifully, his deep, soulful baritone perfectly counterbalancing her heavenly pipes. The lyrics describe a melancholic longing without delving into depressing, Dashboard Confessional-esque fare; the maturity of the prose and the song’s persistently rapturous beat refuse to allow it to do so. The addition of an excellent (and tastefully restrained) horn section only makes this version ten times better than should be legally acceptable.
Bottom line: this song should be on your 2009 summer soundtrack. (Said season is in the title, after all.) And if it’s not, well, I don’t know if I can help you. Enjoy.
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