Several Songs About Fire
“Listen close to the dark / and write down what it says / like its words are your own / and dig a hole inside yourself / and bury them there,” A. Savage, the iconic voice behind Parquet Courts sings towards the end of his latest venture, a solo work called Several Songs About Fire. “I imagine myself playing these songs in a club that is slowly burning,” Savage says darkly about the album, and its wonderfully crafted poetry (one of the benefits of getting a stripped down album like this from him: to highlight his brilliant wordplay) alternates between deep rumination, unique descriptions of the people and places he’s met and lived in, and the chaos just at the edges of everything we think we know.
“Nothing feels certain / I don’t know if I’m hurtin’ or healed,” he starts off the album with the song of the same name. The songs all capture the wonder and disappointment, the fear and resolve of being human in poetry that is never trite and always revelatory. Whether he is thinking about “Elvis in the Army” or penning his own “Thanksgiving Prayer,” a secular look at what he and so many consider sacred in life, or “My New Green Coat,” (“the most recent best thing that I have,”) he makes the fight for existential meaning all his own.
“David’s Dead,” the song that most sounds like Parquet Courts on this album, paints a picture of city life that many would be familiar with. “Oranges are not for sale / at any store for blocks around / the part of town / where fruit just brings in flies.” But at its core is the loss of a friend. This juxtaposition is all over the album, like his Ren and Stimpy dolls that he was obsessed with as a youngster, that he almost lost to a fire of his own starting.
In compelling verse, he shows us why life is meaningful to him and the “fire” he fears will take it all away from him.
“At the end of the hunt / when you cut what you grow / will you have what you want?” he asks on one of the songs. You get the feel, that even after creating a deep and piercing piece of art like Several Songs About Fire, there are still more questions than answers for A. Savage. His artistic questing is thrilling to be witness to, however. Between the familiar tenor of his voice, his unique crafting of melodies, his sparse but always satisfying instrumental accompaniment, and his heavenly poetry, you can face the void confident that life has offered something beautiful and meaningful. “But if there’s something you need to say / And you don’t know how to start / Just feed the birds your final words / The day the hangman grows a heart.”
Pre-order Several Songs About Fire HERE.
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