Standing on the Verge

More

by Oliver Wang

Following up on the Earworms post from yesterday, if there are some songs that are relatively easy to break down to a few key components, there are others that, in my opinion, shouldn't work yet absolutely do. My friend Hua describes songs like this using the idiom "catching lightning in a bottle" and the first tune he applied it to was this one:


(For the embedded video challenged, follow this link)

What I've always loved about this song is how damn delicate a house of cards it seems to be: individually, its component parts are not that extraordinary and in concert with one another, there's something about the tune that always seems on the verge of just collapsing into a mess but it never does.

I love these kinds of musical moments because they really do seem like a collection of elements that happened to all work together in a way that feels like a stroke of luck rather than concerted calculation. I could be wrong: maybe Popcorn Wylie and his writing partner Tony Hester had been mapping this tune out for months but I prefer, in my own mind garden, to imagine it was some kind of (full circle alert!) strange magic.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In