As we saw a few weeks ago, the French are really good at sadness. In fact, they’re so much better at it than we English types that we have to borrow their words to describe feelings like “malaise” and “ennui”. And if ever there was a song that gets those feelings across perfectly, it’s this gem by the French-Canadian band Karkwa.
This is the prefect song to listen to if you’re having one of those days (or weeks) when you feel down and frustrated and annoyed by everything and nothing in particular. It might not cure you, because it’s a pretty melancholy piece of music. But the hint of hopefulness as the song nears its end might be enough to help you turn the corner on your “malaise” and start you on your way to another wonderfully French emotion: “Joi de vivre”.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The aimlessness of the opening piano. For the first minute, it sounds like the pianist has sat down to play something, but can’t really decide what to play.
2. The long pauses. They pop up throughout the song, and I love it. It’s as if the song has an idea about where to go next, but can’t quite get up the courage to do it.
3. The “ooh”s that slowly begin to emerge as the 3-minute mark approaches. Despite the song’s loose structure, the build-up makes it feel like you’ve arrived somewhere. Even if that somewhere feels exactly the same as where the song started.
Recommended listening activity:
Carefully and continuously folding a piece of paper in half until you can’t fold it anymore.