Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jukebox: The Early November - Never Coming Back

When I started listening to The Early November, The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path struck me as an incredible album. It's actually a triple album - a rare event in musical history - and a well written one; in addition to this, the entire album is a concept album dedicated to a beautiful idea. The first two sub-albums are indie rock and acoustic rock, bluntly generalized. However, the third is a spoken word album telling a story, with a couple of musical tracks adding to the tale that sound so rough cut that they're almost demo-esque. There's one that stands out in particular, however. "Never Coming Back" is focused on the character in the story sitting by his grandmother's hospital bedside, taking care of her in her final hours, and the song is incredibly thought provoking. It's beautifully well written, and really summarizes the grief and loss we feel from losing a loved one.

The instrumentation on the track comprise of a french horn, a guitar or two, and Ace Enders. Only one guitar is heard throughout the intro portion the first verse, with the french horn singing a majestic, sad cry into the air, lamenting some loss of its own. Ace describes the character's thoughts and fears through the lyrics, clearly portraying a cheerful facade while his grandmother is awake but expressing his true feelings once she loses consciousness: "We laughed so hard until we fell asleep this evening / And then I watch you there alone in fear, wishing I could speed your breathing." The second guitar comes in, and brings a smooth, clean jazz sound over the rhythmic acoustic pattern. However, what brings on the full, harsh waves of melancholy is the ending chorus: a couple of chords on acoustic, more soft plucking on the jazz guitar, and long, emotional notes held out by the horn, as Ace softly whispers, "But you're gone, and you're never coming back again."

The song is downright depressing. But, the feeling it evokes applies to essentially anyone that's ever had a death in their family, or in their close social circle. Someone they love, someone they trust, someone they depend on; someone is missing, and there's a clear and present void that refuses to go away. The Early November really hits it home with this track, and I would buy the album again just to hear this wonderful piece of work. The song has had different meanings for me at different points in my life, and hearing it today, I thought of my grandfather, who passed Monday morning. It brings a bittersweet tinge to my conscious self - on one end, I'm sad that he's gone, since he'd been around for my entire life, up to this point. However, it brings a sense of resolution, and hearing Ace repeat those last lines drives home a sense that he is gone, and in a better place. When a loved one moves on, the best thing we can do is remember them fondly, pick ourselves up, and move on with our lives. The Early November gives me the courage to do that.

You can follow the band on their site, but since there isn't a fantastic place to stream the song, I would just YouTube it.

1 comment:

  1. Where can I find the notes for French horn for that song? Please tell me.