Song of the Day #3,858: ‘The Needle Has Landed’ – Neko Case

This is the final track on Neko Case’s 2006 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, one of the very best albums of that year and, really, that whole decade.

Fox Confessor was my first exposure to Case and it remains the best thing she’s ever done. The album became a family favorite, especially beloved by my then 4-year-old daughter. She still plays it today at 16.

I adore the sound of this song but I have no clue about its meaning. It has references to Spanaway, a city near Case’s hometown of Tacoma, Washington, and a nearby Air Force base, but what’s the deal with the eagle and the sharp-toothed freighter?

At any rate, it’s beautiful and moving.

Here I am, in traffic’s slow flow
(Where the needle touched down)
Carbon planes draw a cage around the Air Force base
(Where the needle touched down)
My foot on the brake, it’s okay to fly low
Over poor Spanaway

An eagle swooped down from a semi-trailer
Took the name of your town from a sharp-toothed freighter
The needle’s the same that recorded and played
When you left me at the Greyhound the year I moved away
And if I knew then what’s so obvious now
You’d still be here… baby
My baby

So that’s why I never come back here
That’s why they spit out my name
Your exes have clawed up the Bible
Trying to keep me away
With the sledge of tectonic fever
The needle has landed again
Let it play

And the needle touched down
The needle has landed

An eagle swooped down from a semi-trailer
Took the name of your town from a sharp-toothed freighter
And if I knew then what’s so obvious now
You’d still be here…

One thought on “Song of the Day #3,858: ‘The Needle Has Landed’ – Neko Case

  1. Dana says:

    I assume the eagle and sharp toothed freighter, like the needle, are a description of the way planes look taking off and landing from the air force base.

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