Fingertips Explores the Archives: Okkervil River - Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us each month as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" from Okkervil River.
From its wonderful if off-kilter title to its highly disciplined if slightly unglued sense of both song and production, "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" strikes me as pretty brilliant from beginning to end. Front man Wil Sheff is a wordy sort of guy (he's spent some time writing music criticism for a living, as I recall), but rather than do as other wordy sorts of guys do and cram too many syllables into lyrics ("look at all my words!"), Sheff's a savvy enough songwriter to have figured out how to manipulate triplets and time signatures to embrace the extra syllables (you'll hear this for the first time at 0:22, when he sings--I think--"When the love that you locked in the suite says there's no crying"). So he's a wordy guy who makes room for the music, which makes sense when you've got a crack outfit around you like this. Me, I'm especially enjoying the drum work: listen throughout to how Travis Nelsen uses all of his drums, from snares to toms to bass drum, with great energy and sensitivity. Part of me keeps waiting for Okkervil River to break through to the big time, but part of me keeps suspecting that this band--Scheff is a guy who once related the concept of downloading music to a Borges short story--may be too literate/inscrutable for mass consumption. "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" is the lead track on Okkervil's River excellent CD, The Stage Names, which came out in 2007 on Jagjaguwar Records.
- Jeremy Schlosberg