Song of the Day #3,514: ‘If We Were Vampires’ – Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

My final day covering this year’s Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll takes us right to #20. We’re skipping #17, Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules,’ because I’ve already posted it. I recently downloaded Lipa’s debut album and I’m loving it. You’ll hear more from her on the blog soon.

At #18, we have a three-way tie. One of those songs is the excellent ‘Feel It Still’ by Portugal. The Man, also previously featured here. That song would be on my personal 2017 top ten, no question.

The we have ‘Slide’ by Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos. Having just posted a Frank Ocean song and given the heavy representation of rap in this poll so far, I’m setting that one aside.

That leaves a new genre, country, in the form of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s song ‘If We Were Vampires.’ The album it appears on, The Nashville Sound, ranks 5th on the album poll.

I don’t know Jason Isbell from George Strait, but this song is a hell of an introduction. It’s a spare, acoustic beauty, nothing like the bro-country I expected and feared. The best track I’ve heard from the poll so far, and a lovely way to end the week.

[Verse 1]
It’s not the long, flowing dress that you’re in
Or the light coming off of your skin
The fragile heart you protected for so long
Or the mercy in your sense of right and wrong
It’s not your hands searching slow in the dark
Or your nails leaving love’s watermark
It’s not the way you talk me off the roof
Your questions like directions to the truth

[Chorus]
It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we’ll get forty years together
But one day I’ll be gone
Or one day you’ll be gone

[Verse 2]
If we were vampires and death was a joke
We’d go out on the sidewalk and smoke
Laugh at all the lovers and their plans
I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand
Maybe time running out is a gift
I’ll work hard ’til the end of my shift
And give you every second I can find
And hope it isn’t me who’s left behind

[Chorus]
It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we’ll get forty years together
But one day I’ll be gone
Or one day you’ll be gone

It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we’ll get forty years together
But one day I’ll be gone
Or one day you’ll be gone

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,514: ‘If We Were Vampires’ – Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting to hear such a beautiful acoustic song coming out of this poll given these critics’ predilection for rap and alt pop. And what a lovely, albeit sobering, sentiment! Please report back if the rest of the album equally good.

    • Clay says:

      I can happily report that it is. Not only that, I’ve downloaded several of his earlier albums and they’re excellent as well. A great new find.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    This is just lovely. It is a nice way to end the week.

  3. Maddie says:

    Downloaded this album to check out the rest. 🙂 Very excited for more Dua Lipa.

  4. Markazero says:

    The album is excellent! Grammy well deserved! Unfortunately his concert in Hamburg last year was a bit too loud, but after a short break in the smoker‘s lounge I enjoyed it a lot, especially this beautiful song. What I enjoyed even more (nudge nudge, wink wink) was the support. A very talented songwriter named Tift Merritt 🙂

    • Clay says:

      If I’d known Tift opened for him, I would have checked him out a lot sooner! Love this album and the rest I’ve downloaded as well.

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