[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com


Against the Wall
Artist: Natalie Walker
Album: Spark
Year: 2011
: I've been thinking about love songs this week, specifically what makes a love song good. Thus provoked my text about Hurts' Stay on Sunday -- it's not that the lyrics to Stay are that mindblowing, or even that the melody is all that stunning (though the arrangement is pretty stellar, I think), but that the layers, especially as heard on the Sennheisers, hit me really REALLY really hard. I've been trying to articulate why, and I think it's because there is something so honest woven into that song. But that's not the song I picked this week -- it's just the one that inspired my choice.

I first encountered Natalie Walker back when she was with Daughter Darling (oh electrogoth) and loved her song Red back in 2006. I love her voice -- it's so mellifluous, flowing and hypnotic, sweet but quietly powerful. Her musical stylings match her voice beautifully -- electronic, a little intense, but overall almost shoegaze-y. You can listen to her albums in their entirety and not pick out a single song, or pick out every single one as uniquely beautiful -- a quality not easily achieved, for better or worse.

Anyway, I unzipped Spark on Sunday evening, after that hurricane, after reading The Body Artist, after trying to pinpoint what makes a perfect love song. As often happens when I'm in an unzipping mood, I skimmed the songs cursorily. All quite pleasant, well alright, on the iPod you go for later listening.
And then this one got stuck in my head. As I tried to sample other albums, I kept returning to Against the Wall and dancing in my chair. Oh it's catchy, I'll give it that -- I really do think it might be the earwormiest (ew) of her catalogue, though I wouldn't say it's her best -- but there's something else to it...and I think it's that honesty, again.

I don't think I like love songs that are overwrought, opaque/obscure; I definitely don't like love songs that are mushy fluff. I like love songs that just fucking say what they want to say: "Back me up against the wall, right now, right here / Kiss me like I know you've wanted to for so long." -- no bullshit. Her voice is so passionate, so absolute; there is nothing in the world but the moment. The music fades at all the right moments, leaving her pleas ("Tell me that you want me!") to stand on their own. I don't know if I'll ever be in her situation and I don't know if I want to be, but when I'm listening to her sing about it: I feel it.

Music as vicarious, but so honest that you can't tell the difference.

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