Domestic Bliss

If you listen to a lot of music, it’s likely that you have plenty of artists that you end up falling in love with and following with dedication.  But I find that there’s a specific kind of “favorite artist” that you start to listen to and they instantly click with you, whether through a perfect, poetic composition of lyrics, vocals that blow you away, a particular style of music, or some combination thereof.  The ironic thing is that, when I find a connection like that, it tends to make me take significantly longer to branch out and collect more of the artist’s work, because I want to savor it and have plenty of new music by them left to experience, rather than bingeing it all in the span of a week and never having anything new (in the case that they’re not releasing any more music) or at least having to wait a significant amount of time for more.

This has been my experience with the indie folk band Hem.  Truthfully, with my adoration for all of the songs of theirs that I’ve heard and the warmth with which their entire musical aesthetic fills me, I feel they merit a piece discussing all of their work.  However, since the aforementioned problem means I have yet to fill my library with all of their work (or even most of it), I don’t feel capable of giving such an analysis at the moment, and instead feel it’s appropriate describe a specific song of theirs that represents so much of what I love about them: “Lucky.”

Coming from the band’s second full-length album, their 2004 release Eveningland, “Lucky” is a calm, slow song radiating an atmosphere of sheer comfort and bliss.  The verses are especially soft, with gorgeously delicate vocals from singer Sally Ellyson, gently played acoustic guitar, and the faint presence of steel guitar and violin.  A drumbeat signals the transition into the fuller choruses, where backup vocals powerfully harmonize with Ellyson’s and the steel guitar comes to the forefront of the instrumentals; simultaneously, the lyrics slip very directly into establishing peaceful, perfect domesticity, declaring, “I wouldn’t mind lying beside you / The rest of my days.”  The song in itself is filled with a beautiful sense of comfort, but it makes it all the more poignant knowing that co-songwriter Dan Messé has described the song as being about “…when you feel so happy that you know, no matter what happens or goes wrong, nothing can take that happiness away.”

Like so many of Hem’s compositions, “Lucky” is a heartwarming, soothing piece of music.  From Ellyson’s lullaby-soft vocals to the perfect ensemble of instruments and the beauty of the significance behind the song’s lyrics, “Lucky” is such a wonderful song, and I have a hard time listening to it without a smile on my face.  On a widespread scale, it’s a fantastic introduction to Hem’s music if you aren’t yet familiar with them, but at the minimum, “Lucky” deserves a few minutes of your time for a listen.

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