Week 159: “Mexico” by The Staves


People don’t really listen to whole albums anymore.

I’m not trying to sound snooty, because my own listening habits have changed as much as the next person’s. It’s just that technology today makes music consumption less like a three-course sit-down meal, and more like a cocktail party where you make your way from platter to platter eating tiny triangular sandwiches.

When CD technology made it possible for bands to create 70 minutes of uninterrupted music, many artists put together their albums as a logical progression of music. In one way, the digitization of music has brought it back to the days of the 45rpm record, when bands were known for their singles. Only now, the 45rpm record is the viral video or the 99-cent download.

I used to buy an album and really get to know it, to the point where I would know the name, lyrics, and even the length of each track. I would know the transitions so well that hearing the end of one song would trigger the beginning of the next song in my head. That doesn’t happen as much anymore.

But it did with the album “Dead & Born & Grown” by The Staves. And if you have a hammock and 43 minutes to spare, you won’t regret giving the whole thing a listen.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The super quiet guitar. Not sure if it’s just really far back in the mix, or if the guitar strings hadn’t been replaced in a while, but it adds to the song’s delicate feel.

2. The harmonies. If they ever collaborated with The Good Lovelies, the harmonies would be so rich that all the birds in the immediate area would instantly land on their arms.

3. The bridge at 2:55. The Staves are clever songwriters, and in many of their songs they throw in a quick little something for the listener’s ear to feast on before getting back to the chorus again. Sometimes it’s a whistle solo, sometimes it’s an acapella breakdown. In this song it’s just a little ooh and aah, but it’s enough to add a third dimension.

Recommended listening activity:

Starting a cover-to-cover re-reading of your favourite book.

Buy it here.