Song of the Week – Song for Zula, Phosphorescent

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

It only seems appropriate that I should dedicate the final SotW for 2013 to a song that was one of the best of the year. It is “Song for Zula” from Phosphorescent’s terrific album Muchacho. (Phosphorescent is the creative outlet for Matthew Houck.)

I was first introduced to the “band” through the terrific LA based music blog Rollo & Grady (www.rollogrady.com). (It’s a great resource for anyone interested in keeping current on emerging bands in the indie rock scene.) Every Phosphorescent song they’ve featured over the years has appealed to me. So I was very excited to learn that a new album, Muchacho, was dropping this year.

And a fine album it is. No, it doesn’t have radio friendly “hits.” No, the songs won’t garner millions of YouTube viewings. No, the album won’t sell hundreds of thousands of CDs. But it is a very well-conceived and executed album in the traditional sense. Not exactly a “concept” album, but still a collection of songs that hang together with a common theme – in this case a break up. Is it possible Houck can express anything new to this universal, but well worn, experience? The answer is a resounding YES.

“Song for Zula” is a beautiful example of the gravity of the songs on Muchacho.

The lyrics have a majestic beauty missing from most of today’s pop music.

You see, the moon is bright in that treetop night
I see the shadows that we cast in the cold, clean light
My feet are gold. My heart is white
And we race out on the desert plains all night
See, honey, I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night

It has the atmospherics and soaring dynamic that Daniel Lanois contributed to U2’s “With or Without You.” You will hear it from the opening notes of the intro. Houck has a thin, fragile voice that compliments this song perfectly. It conveys his sadness and resignation with subtle intimacy.

Best wishes for a happy new year. I can’t wait to share more great music with you in 2014.

Enjoy… until next year.

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