Such is the case with Day 23’s direction to name ‘A Song That You Think Everybody Should Listen To.’ Does that mean a song you find important, so if everybody listened to it the world would somehow become a better place? Or a little-heard song that you feel needs the exposure?
Our next match-up in Round One of Montauk Madness pits the legendary Frank Sinatra against the tragically under-appreciated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. A no-brainer, right? I agree… Tift Merritt advances.
Sinatra acolytes (like my parents) will scoff at this choice, I’m sure. But as much as I love Sinatra’s voice, and his interpretation of classic songs on such albums as Only the Lonely, Songs For Swingin’ Lovers, In the Wee Small Hours and Watertown, I find it hard to vote for a non-songwriter over an excellent and prolific one.
Today wraps up my track-by-track look at Tift Merritt’s latest album, Stitch of the World. I hope it was less taxing for some readers than last year’s Lucinda Williams deep dive.
The album closes with a third song featuring Sam Beam on backing vocals, and as in the other two, his contribution is sublime.
As I mentioned in my first post about Tift Merritt’s Stitch of the World, the album was written in the wake of her divorce. In general, the record is more about the recovery than the break-up, with the exception of today’s SOTD, ‘Eastern Light.’
Again accompanied by Sam ‘Iron & Wine’ Beam, Merritt delivers a gorgeous and haunting elegy to a failed relationship, assigning blame to neither party but longing for a feeling she can never reclaim.
It’s not that her fans decry the lack of massive Billboard success, sold-out stadium shows and household name status. I’m talking about a level of popularity that’s somewhere above that of a local bar band.
‘Proclamation Bones’ is rushed and what passes for grungy in Merritt’s acoustic vocabulary. It’s a sexy stomp through a modern Garden of Eden, continuing the nature theme found on much of the album but giving it a more carnal edge.
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.