Posted by: Nathan | October 16, 2008

The Weepies

There is something unique about finding a band that you love. It feels as if you stumbled upon a new friend who knows you already and has a lot to say. So it was with me and The Weepies. I first heard their music on Paste Magazine‘s music sampler #40 that featured “Hideaway,” the title song of their most recent release. At first it didn’t grab my attention, but repeated listenings revealed an unusual ability to write quality–yea, even poetic–lyrics. J looked into them via the interwebenet, and we soon fell in love.

The Weepies’ music is simple yet elaborate in its arrangement. Deb Talan and Steve Tannen both sing, switching lead vocals and frequently harmonizing with each other. Their layered, guitar-based sound is simple but ethereal, and their pieces are always well-made. The instrumentation is lovely but never overpowering. It is music that coheres together perfectly; every part feels inherently valuable to the whole.

The Weepies are extraordinary because I can listen to them any time. Most bands have a sound that lends itself to certain situations: DMB when I’m happy, Pearl Jam when I’m looking for energy, Counting Crows on rainy days, Sarah McLachlan when I want some sweetness, Simon & Garfunkel for poetry, Dispatch on laid-back days, classical for background music, etc. The Weepies have somehow managed to make music that fits any situation. It’s quiet enough that I can play it in the background or when I want tranquility, it’s cheerful enough to quench a happiness thirst (their first album is titled Happiness), they have enough gloomy songs to pacify me when I’m irked, and they have all the depth anyone could ask for when I really want music to delve into.

Their lyrics are extraordinary and explore a variety of themes. Some of their songs are about love and simplicity. Consider “Take It From Me”: “Funny how it’s hard to take love with no strings / But come on, take it /Take it from me (we have a good life).” Or “Simple Life”:

I dreamed you first
But not so real
And every day since I’ve found you
Such moments we steal
Like little thieves, we rub our hands
We hold our hearts between them

“Orbiting” takes up the feeling of loss:

Now you’re out of my range
And it’s kind of strange
How we change orbit in our lives
You were kind of a moon
Outside of my room
I could just feel you nearby
Now I feel you gone

The ongoing struggle of life is addressed in “How You Survived the War”:

Is that the way you want it?
You get back to the wall
And put your hands up
It’s a hold-up
You give up
Like every time before
That is how you survived the war

I could quote several other worthy songs: “Antarctica,” “Slow Pony Home,” “Can’t Go Back Now,” “Stars,” “Painting by Chagall,” and, my favorite, “Jolene,” which is so excellent I couldn’t excerpt it. Few are the musicians who craft words as well as these two.

The Weepies live in a world I relate to. There is tragedy and loss but also love and beauty. The small things matter, and power is not equivalent to volume or force. Writing this post has made me want to listen to them all over again. This is music that I had all but given up on finding. It’s excellent per se, yet it somehow transcends notes and words. Having The Weepies’ music in my life is a small but profound joy.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the post. We heard The Weepies in the car with D&E, and I liked them. I’ll have to check into them more thoroughly.

  2. Which album should I start with? I have some Amazon gift card money courtesy of our good friend Lisa.

  3. Can’t go wrong! Say I Am You and Hideaway have more songs, so I’d start with one of them, but J likes Happiness the best. There are so many good songs on each. Listen to samples of them online and pick. Let me know which you choose.

  4. Great post! I have really enjoyed their music since you and J told us about them. Hideaway is fantastic. I recommend as well!

  5. Better to watch once than a thousand times to hear or read: http://tubedirect.net/index.php?q=the-weepies


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