A song about a drunken closing time walk home after a long night pondering a big decision, because why not write a song about that? The singer is “beer can stumbling” and “brokeheart mumbling,” he’s “all over the place” but he’s still “got more balance than cheese on onion ring.” (Poetry!) The music is classic rock, slicing guitars turned up loud just like they would be in the bar the singer just left. The lyrics find him identifying with the bar food he’s been consuming all night: onion rings, bbq chips, flash fried chicken. The Krispy Kreme doughnut he grabbed at an earlier point in the walk.

There’s a heaviness at first, he’s “tryin’ to act like nothing’s happening” but the big decision still looms. Then suddenly he’s out from under it all:

     Here comes a feeling, and there it goes
     Everybody knows that I’m light on my toes

…and instead in a moment where everything seems fresh and funny and beautiful. A woman drives by, and he breaks himself up imagining the lame come-ons he’d like to give her. He stares in wonder at the “coconut snow” falling around him. He finds a song–this song?–in his heart.

(Every time I hear this song I remember a story a friend of mine told about his own drunken walk home after a party at our house in Somerville. It was the middle of a snowstorm, and the drifts were too high on the sidewalks so he was walking down the middle of the road. He happened to look back and noticed the insanely weaving path he was making and it amused him so much he had a laughing fit so intense he couldn’t walk anymore. So he decided to lie down in the road until it passed. He said he must have been there curled up in the snow giggling for a good five minutes. Lucky guy he wasn’t eviscerated by a snow plow, but I guess that shows again the head-shakingly fine line between a funny “time I was drunk” story and tragedy.)

So, Marah: I should be a much bigger fan. They can be funny, passionate, bratty, heartfelt. They can sound like “Wild, Innocent”-era Bruce and Mercury-era Rod Stewart, write flat-out rockers like this song and delicate ballads like “So What If We’re Outta Tune,” with its great “We’re desperate in common” opening line. But every one of their albums has tracks I consistently skip: not just, okay, make it through this one because the next song’s better but that motivate me to actually get up off the couch and press a button (I’m playing this on a CD player, look it up). And there are a couple of albums of theirs I’ve bought and listened to maybe three times and pretty much never want to hear again. So, consistency, not so much. But the good stuff is so good! Also, they are tied with Uncle Tupelo for the loudest show I’ve ever been to, when they played TT the Bears in 2006 or so. And also, with the holidays approaching, let me plug their odd and, yes, inconsistent, but fun Christmas album. They do an awesome version of “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

marah2

 

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