Nighttime Listening

From the moment Anchor & Braille announced the title of their most recent effort—the 2016 album Songs For The Late Night Drive Home—I was incredibly eager for its release.  Truthfully, I would’ve been eager regardless, given my love for all of their work, but the concept put forth within the title drew me in further.

Since I first listened to the album, I’ve loved it on a general conceptual and atmospheric level; it presents unique listening experience similarly to the previous two releases by Stephen Christian under the Anchor & Braille moniker.  However, over the past year since its release, I’ve had a difficult time connecting with the songs in a way that compels me to truly dig into the album.  That was the case until this past week, that is, when I listened to the track “Nightfall” again, and started to develop just such a connection with it.

“Nightfall” is an electronic piece in the chillwave style that the whole album makes use of, with the same somber, dreamlike atmosphere that makes all of Songs work so well for a late-night drive home.  After a soft fade-in, the beat slowly establishes itself before synths kick in full force, backing Christian’s melodically pleaded lyrics of tentative hope.  The song appears to tell the tale of two lovers in a period of hardship, led off by the question, “Is it only up from here?”  Despite the struggles the narrator faces, the lyrics of the song are characterized by a desire to make things better and a desperation for the other party to see the positives, to see what they do have, and to not give up.

It’s filled with encouraging, romantic lines in this pleading, such as “It may not get easier, but at least you have me.”  However, one of the most powerful sections is in the second verse, where the lyrics examine the difficulties of such a period of hopelessness and make powerful use of irony in inquiring, “Isn’t it funny how it’s lonely people / Who want no one around? / Isn’t it strange how lost we are / When we find that no one’s found?”

If you’re looking for a laid-back, dreamlike listening experience, Songs as a whole offers something along those lines, though on a personal level I still haven’t made that powerful of a bond with all ten tracks.  What I can say, however, is that “Nightfall” is the whole package; among a plethora of immensely compelling factors that have been telling me for a year now to try and better absorb Songs, it was a newfound love for “Nightfall” that finally drove me to do so.  That, in my eyes, is a powerful recommendation of the song’s worth.

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