Song of the Day #1,952: ‘Bracing For Sunday’ – Neko Case

neko_case_worse_thingsNeko Case epitomizes the need to hear an album multiple times before rendering a verdict. Her records are dense and nuanced… they sneak up on you and sometimes risk passing you by.

Case’s 2006 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood remains her best work, and the epitome of her earthy alternative style. That album is so good that it’s hard not to compare her subsequent records to it, to their detriment.

That’s not really fair to the new work, but I guess that’s the curse of success.

Case’s newest album has the unwieldy title The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. It shares the same basic style and sound as Fox Confessor, but the songs aren’t as immediately accessible.

This album was written after a lengthy bout of depression following the deaths of Case’s mother, father and grandmother, and a mood of rich sadness hangs over every track. Even though I haven’t yet navigated all of the melodies, it’s already a mesmerizing listen.

I have to mention the one glaring exception, an a capella song titled ‘Nearly Midnight, Honolulu’ in which Case describes a scene at an airport when she witnessed a mother verbally abusing her child. Case sings reassuring words to the boy, which I suppose is a nice enough thing to do, but the song is more silly than touching. If anything, it demonstrates exactly how important the layered instrumentation is to her work.

I look forward to revisiting this album a few weeks or months from now after I’ve had a chance to live with it for awhile.

I dropped my gloves into the stove
Hymns echoed out the grate
I fell in love with those electric lights
That drug me into town so late

To nimble, cunning, clever nights
I railed behind them, deputized
To scrape the lens off Christian eyes
I’m a Friday night girl
Bracing for Sunday to come

I only ever held one love
Her name was Mary Anne
She died having a child by her brother
He died because I murdered him

I shot him through his jelly eye
And I won myself his wicked life
Now I thread-the-needle waltz through mine
I’m a Friday night girl
Bracing for Sunday to come

I emptied onto shifting sheets
Staring rosary holes in my ceiling
Waiting for my purpose to deliver
And reveal itself to me
But all I hear are subway trains
Bang against their bedrock lanes
So I bang a little too
I’m a Friday night girl
Bracing for Sunday to come
Bracing for Sunday to come

One thought on “Song of the Day #1,952: ‘Bracing For Sunday’ – Neko Case

  1. Dana says:

    Cool song. I’ve only heard a smattering of Case’s music, but I like what I’ve heard.

    I have to admire the amount of “work” you do, or are willing to do, to let an album grow on you. Amy is on the other end of that spectrum, often eschewing new work even from her favorite artists to return to the comfort of their greatest earlier records. I fall somewhere in the middle, though I don’t really continue to return to albums that don’t grab me by at least the second run through.

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