Song of the Day #4,190: ‘September’ – The Shins

Best Albums of the 2010s – #4
Port of Morrow – The Shins (2012)

When I listed my top albums of the decade so far back at the end of 2014, The Shins’ Port of Morrow claimed the top spot. Five years later, it’s lost none of its lustre.

Frontman James Mercer parted ways with his band’s original lineup prior to writing and recording this album, and kept the Shins name despite tackling the project as essentially a one-man band.

The result was the band’s best work to date, combining their trademark poetic lyrics and off-kilter melodies with a more muscular pop sound. These songs slink and soar, echoing Pink Floyd one minute and The Beatles the next.

I love the varied subject matter tackled on Port of Morrow, including songs about a suicide bomber, a prostitute at an American Army base in Germany, Mercer’s relationship with his sister, and some of the best love songs I’ve heard in ages (see today’s SOTD).

The Shins’ only other 2010’s release was Heartworms in 2017, a decent album but not one that stacked up to this masterpiece.

Into this strange elastic world
Pontus kindly gave up a pearl
Of his eternal stone and mud
And ain’t she lovely bone and blood

Born of the sea
A thousand miles away from me
A court of angels, a ward of the sun
A future forming, a curse undone

Under our softly burning lamp she
Takes her time
Telling stories of our possible lives
And love is the ink in the well when her body writes

I’ve been selfish and full of pride
She knows deep down there’s a little child
But I’ve got a good side to me as well
And it’s that she loves in spite of everything else

A song in the tree has distracted her mind
Some other curious form of life
Has made its presence to her known
And she coos so gently, soft and low

Her shining face in a million reflections
On tiny raindrops that fall in a veil
Over our city like notes from above
It overwhelms me, just ain’t that tough

Its not that the darkness can’t touch our lives
I know it will in time, but she’s no ordinary valentine
And now when the sun goes down she sheds her darling light

I’ve been selfish and full of pride
She knows deep down there’s a little child
But I’ve got a good side to me as well
And it’s that she loves in spite of everything else

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,190: ‘September’ – The Shins

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I don’t think you’ve featured the Shins much since 2014, but I recall liking their sound then and still like it now.

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