Song of the Day #3,153: ‘Icarus’ – Tift Merritt

tift_stitch_worldContinuing my song-by-song presentation of Tift Merritt’s latest album, Stitch of the World, we arrive at track six, ‘Icarus.’

When I listened to Stitch of the World the first time, I initially felt this song might have been one too many slow ballads in a row. It’s one of the most delicate songs on a very delicate album.

But once I learned the song, and the album, the way you do with an artist you love, ‘Icarus’ emerged as a favorite — perhaps the best song on a wonderful album.

That has everything to do with Merritt’s lovely vocals, which are especially effective on the hushed, crystalline chorus.

‘Icarus’ is another song about healing, with the mythological figure who flew too close to the sun sitting in for all of us.

I found him out in the field up there
His clothes were torn, glue in his hair
Feather down over everything
On the ground, his broken wings

I washed his hair and I nursed his bones
I held the way he felt alone
Keeping watch over his fitful sleep
To catch him falling out of his dreams

Oh Icarus
There’s a wing down in each of us
Faster than the speed of sound inside
Everything flies

A rush of breath, a turn of touch
The arch of loving someone so much
The way your heart will race and rise
A tear hanging in a long, slow dive

Oh Icarus
There’s a wing down in each of us
Faster than the speed of sound inside
Everything flies

Night comes on in fits and stalls
Twilight colors looking on
As all the evening dust kicks up
A small hope lands where doubt once was

Oh Icarus
There’s a wing down in each of us
Faster than the speed of sound inside
Everything flies

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,153: ‘Icarus’ – Tift Merritt

  1. Peter says:

    Exactly the same thing happened to me as to you. It’s an interesting phenomenon that sometimes the first impression changes and sometimes not. My theory is that some songs – like “Icarus” – are so much stripped-down that their beauty doesn’t strike the ear immediately. Unfortunately my English is not good enough, I can’t say if compaction or compression would be the adequate word. We must not forget that a song is the result of a process that we, the listeners, didn’t witness.

  2. Dana says:

    I think all but the most hooky pop songs benefit from repeat listening to appreciate the intricacies and layers.

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