ArrangingTime :: Pete Yorn :: Song-by-Song New Album Review

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ArrangingTime (2016)
Album available here

We’ve been pretty excited around here for the release of Pete Yorn’s sixth solo album, ArrangingTime, if you haven’t noticed. We did a ten day countdown series, and it was quite a lot of fun to dig deep into Pete’s catalog of music, and put together Top 5’s from past albums, as well as to a couple of fun themes. But, now is the time, today is the day, and we all can spin our own copy of ArrangingTime together.

What better way to start off a weekend then with a listen to Lost Weekend, along with a set of twelve songs that are layered, complex, pop-infused, lyrically rich, and just one hell of a great listen. Load this one up in your car stereo, unpack each song, one-by-one, on a long Lost Weekend road trip, pick your favorite, or a few, to throw into a playlist, fall in love, or fall out of love, and everything in-between to these songs. And, for a moment, just live in the moment, with these songs as your soundtrack, and as a way to arrange time the way you need it to be.

As I’ve been known to do with albums I have been anticipating, and love immediately, I’m going to do my own song unpacking and give each song it’s due. Following will be a three sentence review, or really reaction, to each song. These are my expressions, feelings and reactions and are not definitive of what the songs mean to be, or what anyone else’s experience may be – but I feel music, and it is my greatest muse, so I can’t help but let it all unfold however it may.

The songs are all stunners – and really, truly, honestly – go get the album now.

Also, is it perfect planning, or what, that ArrangingTime drops the weekend most of us are setting our clocks for one-hour earlier – arranging time, one might say…clever, clever.

Song-by-Song:

1. Summer was a Day

“Summer was a day,
so much further now –
I couldn’t be the one to warm your heart”

There is something so ethereal here, layered sounds, light and the salt laced air of the Pacific Ocean; this song feels like Summer captured in a bottle, like fireflies, like memories. There is a timelessness here, but also a sense of time lost and time remembered. We are all so tempted to look back with tinted glass nostalgia, musing over the Summers past, while we let today just slip away, like sand through our fingers, like believing we were never the ones.

2. Lost Weekend

“You can tell the truth,
you can tell the lie,
say anything you want to say.
Are we all just lost in time?”

Summer may be a day, but this song feels like Summer, both past and present, and in the coming future. Childhood lives in the lines of this song, the places we come-of-age in, our histories, our basements, our suburbs, our places we’ve escaped from. But we are out from there, we are now, even if now is something we dream of escaping from, too.

3. Halifax

“I know you’re waiting for me,
I’ve seen you at the bus stop,
waiting.”

4. In Your Head
(not available on YouTube – listen here at Spotify)

“I don’t want to try,
you convince yourself.
No, I don’t want to try,
I’ve given too much of myself,
you’ve given too much of myself.”

Well, this song sings to my compulsion to over-think. So many stories play out in my head, and sometimes its better that they do, but other stories are held back, coiled up and knotted in that place of over-thinking that can manifest into fear. What could happen, what could be possible, if we let things out of our heads?

5. She was Weird

“And I felt her
devastation
we were lost in the fight.
And I knew
I couldn’t leave her
I would love her
through the night.”

I hesitate claiming a favorite, because it will change, and I love so many of these songs so much already, but for now, today, at 10:19 AM, in Los Angeles, this is my favorite. The sonic and vocal layering, the melody, the lyrics (oh yes, the lyrics), the wafting melancholy of the one that got away, the hope that somehow seeps though, and just the idea of weird as a trait, as a memory, as something missed, and loved, I dig it. The guitar at the start of this song feels so 90’s Brit Pop, but then the layers come in, and pull it fast into the now so perfectly; this one just sticks to me like glue, like something you just can’t let go of completely.

6. I’m Not the One

“Oh maybe I’ll see you there in my dreams,
or maybe we’ll turn out enemies.”

This is pure pop gold, catchy in all the right ways, yet still lyrically compelling. Self-deprecating, contemplative, some of the lines in this remind me of a Smiths song set to a indie-pop groove and beat. The juxtaposition of “I have open up sometimes just to injure myself“feels so relatable and human, just like “I should be leaving, but I’m hanging on” does; the idea of knowing you aren’t the one, but not wanting to know – yeah, relatable.

7. Shopping Mall

“I can’t tell you
anything
if you believe in something else.
I can’t give you
anything
you don’t already have.”

There are two songs on the album that crack open my chest and break pieces of my heart off – this is one of them. At times, its just the music, that seventies inspired, sad sound that reminds me of songs that my mom would play sometimes, songs that always made her cry. At times, its the words, the refrains that feel injected with hope lost, and an internal defeat that can’t seem to come up for air.

8. Roses

“It’s the roses in the water,
it’s the highlight of your night.
When the jasmine bloomed on Sunset Blvd.
and we fell in love,
for the first time.”

Did I pick a favorite already? Well, I may need to change my selection, or at least tie this up with it, as this song is so fucking beautiful. I love the simplicity of the start, the first lyric, the glimpse of Los Angeles, of memory, of first falling, of a moment so beautiful and bittersweet, captured, and let go, so beautifully – just…wow…I love it.

9. Screaming at the Setting Sun

“Oh and I can’t stand what I’m seeing,
and I can’t get form this feeling.
I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs,
screaming at the setting suns.”

I cannot wait to hear this one live. The guitar work in the middle of this one blows my mind. Some days you just have to scream into the sunset from up in the hills, letting it all go – this is one of those “release it all” kind of songs (perfect for driving, too).

10. Walking Up
(not available on YouTube – listen here at Spotify)

“I’m walking up to the room,
maybe for the last time.
Maybe there I’ll see
your eyes.”

This one took a few listens to really hear, but when I did I couldn’t stop listening, hitting repeat, over and over again. There is something classic here, timeless, reminiscent of God Only Knows and Don’t Worry Baby. I love the sense of place, of hope, of possibility, embedded in a melancholic pale blue sky – that’s how it paints behind my closed eyes when I just sit back and listen.

11. Tomorrow

“Hand on your heart,
tomorrow is another day.”

Such an 80’s feel to this song, especially the chorus, the change in beat/time/rhythm that takes place, and the background bass/guitar. The brief spoken word portion of the song is a effective overlap from the upbeat tempo, it slices through in just the right way. Another great song for long car rides, especially in the early morning.

12. This Fire

“Killing yourself in slow motion,
waving from the bottom of the ocean.
Swim back to land
just let me in
Tell me can we ever begin again?”

This song – fuck – it is so beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking, crushing and amazing. This one makes me cry. The lyrics, the songwriting, the entire song, this is one of the best songs I have ever heard of Pete’s – its just everything.

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Keep Art Alive :: Photograph by Jim Wright

2 comments

  1. Beautiful album so far and I might have to agree with your favorites (I like those two and the last one the most so far). You must be soooooooo happy listening to this FINALLY!!!

    Like

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