A Season of Songs, day 51: Upward Over The Mountain

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Today’s song is “Upward Over The Mountain” by Iron & Wine from their 2002 debut album “The Creek Drank The Cradle”.

So may the sunrise bring hope
Where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds
Flying upward over the mountain

I don’t have much to say about Iron & Wine.  I have the first 3 albums on my ipod.  This debut album and the 2nd album “Our  Endless Numbered Days” are both really good minimalist alternative folk music marked primarily by Sam Beam’s breathy vocals.  By the third album, “The Shepherd’s Dog”, I begin to lose interest.  I didn’t check out the next album at all and then by 2011’s “Kiss Each Other Clean”, I was like “What is this shit?”.  Beam describes that album as “It sounds like the music people heard in their parent’s car growing up… that early-to-mid-’70s AM, radio-friendly music.”  Sorry, not feeling it.

Honestly, while generally someone who pays close attention to a band’s lyrics, I’ve never really paid close attention to Iron & Wine lyrics.  I think it is partially because of that vocal delivery I mention – they are light and airy, delivered in these hushed tones that make them very atmospheric.  They float in, they float out.  I’d be hard pressed to remember any Iron & Wine lyric.

So when it came time to look up the lyrics for this song, it was interesting to get a chance to look them over.  “Upward Over The Mountain” is one of my favorite Iron & Wine songs, but yep, I had no idea about these lyrics.  Clearly these songs are about the relationship between a mother and son, about the mother’s expectations and the son’s realities (hey, it’s Mother’s Day Weekend – thematically appropriate post!).  If you want to read a very in-depth line-by-line interpretation of this song, check out this Genius.com link in which the commenter breaks down their thoughts on every line in the song.  I’m not sure I buy everything they say but its an interesting take on the song.

Iron & Wine.  Not sure I would fully endorse them but there are some good tracks on those first few albums (specifically the first two).  If you like this type of light indie folk, you’ve probably already dabbled in these records, but if you haven’t, consider it.

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