Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

I would like to say that Bill Callahan’s new album Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle hit me like a slap to the face the first time I heard it, but I can’t. I was more intrigued than anything… So I listened again, and again, and yet again. I think that I played it around 4 times in succession after hearing it for the first time.Bill_Callahan_cover

It’s not that it’s complex, but rather the opposite. The string arrangements sound like some that you could hold in your hand that could fly away in a strong breeze. Callahan’s lyrics are bold and clever. It reminds me of the first time that experienced The National. At first it sounds simple and easy to digest. But upon closer look, you can see the spark of genius keenly shroud in plain sight.

The album reaches an apex at track 5 – Too Many Birds. I think that John Darnielle does the song justice on his blog by simply pasting the lyrics along with the hyperbolic sentence: “Someday you will brag that you were around when stuff this good was being written.”

The last song Faith/Void takes what I would call a bold risk. Even in popular music, the issues of theology and modern day society seem taboo to discuss outright. Callahan repeats the line: “It’s time to put god away” over and over again. For some reason it doesn’t sound menacing or preachy as it does when read on a page. He sings/speaks the line as a mater-of-fact type instruction a parent would tell a child to put their toys away.

Though I only recently discovered Bill Callahan I was shocked to learn that he has been making music for almost two decades under the name Smog. I don’t know how I never came across his work before, but I now feel overwhelmed with a full discography to sort through. The tunnels of music appreciation are long and winding, and you never know where your heading or where you going to pop out.

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