Tuesday, December 14, 2010

OSCILLATIONS: "The Dark is Rising" by Mercury Rev

This was the first single from Mercury Rev's ALL IS DREAM (2001),  a release that found them abandoning the forced wedness of earlier releases like BOCES (1993),  and concentrating on sounds and songwriting,  a journey that began with the excellent DESERTERS SONGS.  From their upstate New York studio,  Mercury Rev created a rural surrealism that communicates the sense of wonder,  displacement,  and plainspoken poetry that small towns like Woodstock seem capable of summoning,  especially when the night's "silence" gives way to nature's myriad conversations.  ALL IS DREAM starts affectingly enough with the orchestral bombast of "The Dark is Rising",  perhaps the albums strongest song and statement of purpose:                                    
                                                                       I dreamed of you on my farm
                                                                   I dreamed of you in my arms
                                                              But dreams are always wrong
                                                         I never dreamed I'd hurt you
                                                     I never dreamed I'd lose you
                                                In my dreams I'm always strong

The track's power lies in its contrasts,  a vocal whine reminiscent of Neil Young quietly trading words with a full orchestra,  and the singer's ambivalence towards dreams countered with the truth of his acceptance of loss and eventual darkness.  In the end, it's a song of love and terror and hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment