Tunesday: The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”

For March, our Tunesday theme is: “In like a lamb, out like a lion” — songs that build to an awesome crescendo, vocally or musically

Three bands eternally hover and circle me like shielding, supervisory seraphs. I have known conclusively that I would one day write about each of these bands. Two stood before me on this Tunesday, flapping crescendo flags, flaunting the criteria for this month’s theme.

The first song, from my favorite band, spun to me like a hurried tornado, lobbing fragments of dreams from “the unwoken fool” with its whipping orchestral winds of movement. And that event quickly faded into a soft, disparaging shoreline “wave’s chicane.” Like obeying a yellow-brick road, that piece would have come too easily for me.

The second song, the one I chose, was carried by the whispering stream of a lover. I denied it at first and sought a suitable other. I interviewed prospective songs until I could no longer refute, because if I am honest with myself—it was always going to be this song. (The third band shall be reserved for mention on another day.)

I can clearly and colorfully recall the first time I heard Neko Case’s voice. Can’t everyone? Everything in my world was black and white before her. She glided to me, a glorious good witch in a magic reflective orb (a CD sample from an established music monthly), and belted the peppy parchment spell that would be my first The New Pornographer’s experience (yes, I’ve been with them all along)—“Letter from an Occupant.”

From that time, for miles and miles, The New Pornographers have ridden passenger side and championed me to unexpected celebrations, over impossible mountains and through barbed breakdowns—which brings me to my selection today.

For “The Bleeding Heart Show,” A.C. Newman creates the audition and arranges the props on a renowned play. And the curtain opens. Enter a couple—opposite sides of the stage, approaching each other. They pass through mistakes in beds and leave those beds unmade behind them until they meet at a new, smooth covered mattress, scripted as their collision point. They love. They meld. They break. Very quickly springs bend, coils poke through, and their bodies separate and cling to edges. Winter erupts, and the room becomes too cold for the thin, raggedy cover they have to share. The chill is knocked by resentful screams and a haze of heated breath fills their space melting whatever remained of their sympathy and understanding.

I feel the temper and change when I listen to the build and explosion conveyed in this song, especially when there’s a shift in vocals starting with an understated male dominated lead (Newman), which swells into interspersed midsections of immaculate harmonizing and drum-blasts into a female conducted end (Case).

“And we have arrived… ” to…

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