This is a quintessential Neko Case song. It’s atmospheric, haunting and gorgeous, and its lyrics are evocative but largely inscrutable. The online commentary I’ve found seems to agree that the song is about Case’s battle with depression.
2002’s Blacklisted was singer-songwriter Neko Case’s third solo album and the one that really struck a nerve with critics. This album introduced the dominant sound of her next several releases, including my favorite, 2006’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.
Case is the whole package. She pens memorable melodies and evocative lyrics, creates soundscapes in a ghostly alternative bluegrass style that sounds like nobody else, and has one of the best voices in the game.
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.
Pretty much any Neko Case song transports me to the same imaginary headspace. I picture a quiet autumn night in the woods at dusk, perfect temperature, fireflies blinking on and off, a harvest moon rising.
‘I Wish I Was the Moon,’ from the 2002 album Blacklisted, definitely has that effect on me. It’s exquisitely produced and, as always, beautifully sung. The kind of song you want to get lost in.
Today’s track — the title cut — is a quick little poem that seemingly uses a train as a metaphor for a person who won’t settle down. That’s how I read it, anyway.
What’s unclear to me is how this song fits its title.