Sometimes, the unfortunate thing about releasing singles is that that’s how far some music listeners will go in terms of liking a band’s music. They’ll hear the song and think yah, I like this but once the song is over… so is that immediate obsession. And its understandable that this happens because let’s be honest, it takes a lot of work to become a true fan of a band. You first have to like that initial song enough that it not only stays in your head but that it also compels you to download/buy it rather than wait around for a station to play it again. Then, once you’re buying the song you feel the need to investigate other songs on other albums with the hopes that you find other musical gems. And once that happens you start to get curious about the actual band—who they are, where they’re from, how they met, what their inspiration was behind each album etc. etc.
So keeping all this in mind, it can be a hassle to really go beyond that radio single that’s caught your attention, especially when a station has overplayed it to the point that they’ve ruined it completely. This particular situation has happened quite a few times with City and Colour songs.
It all started with his first single, “Save Your Scissors.” I believe it was Dallas’s intimate, sweet voice that drew me in and kept my attention on the first listen. He hit every note perfectly and delivered every lyric with so much passion that it almost instantly broke my heart. But, it was that same day when various radio stations played the single close to five times every hour that made me over it before I even had a chance to miss it. Sadly, it got even worse with his second major single, “”Sleeping Sickness.” Because it featured Gord Downie, the adored front man from the Tragically Hip, stations like the Edge ate it up and played the single as if it was their theme song.
Though, with his latest album, Little Hell, I had the chance to get to it before the airways and officially begin my love affair with the album and with Dallas Green himself.
So, what was the song that transformed me from an occasional listener into a full-fledged fan? The eighth song on the album-- Weightless.
As much as I adore his signature soothing acoustic style, this particular song shook up the album and made it fierce thanks to its different but solid rock and roll/bluesy type sound. He introduces this new sound to us slowly as he debuts himself playing the electric guitar, yet after a strum or two we are comforted to hear that gentle voice of his croon, “Come close….lay next to me..” There are then moments of silence until boom! at 0:21, the heavy drums kick in and the rock and roll vibe is in full force. Dallas’s voice, though known to be soft and sweet meshes perfectly with this harsher tune. He belts the lyrics out a bit harder, a bit louder, yet we’re still able to get a sense of his beautiful vulnerability.
Within the first verse, we are able to see how Dallas has this unique ability of writing simple, straightforward lyrics yet allowing his voice to fill them with so much emotion and intensity that they come off as pure poetry:
“It’s your eyes that I don’t believe,
And my heart I know, you will deceive.
Do you know the consequence,
That comes with such confidence?”
It’s lyrics like these that hit home the most. These are not abstract, obscure lyrics that dance around the topic of love. They are real and relatable, which gives us listeners the opportunity to see how he has fucked up feelings, doubts and concerns just like the rest of us.
And at 1:11, the first chorus, every instrument intensifies; we hear Dallas’s voice raise a notch, creating a sense of anger and frustration, which has us holding on to his every word as we try to indentify with his pain. After the short interlude at 3:03, we are smacked with the most passionate part of the song, where he takes every note a touch higher and belts out:
“Breathing all the strength from my life, then you turn and you run away from me.”
And just like that, all instruments come to a halt, leaving us with the sense of relief that he probably feels after unleashing such heavy words and emotions.
So, why has this song changed my life? Very rarely do I find artists that feel how I feel when it comes to certain topics. With most, I look at them and their music and think, your song is great but I don’t for a second think you really get what I’M feeling. Yet, with Dallas Green, he exposes so much vulnerability and passion that it not only feels like he gets what I’m feeling but almost like he’s feeling everything for me. He’s genuine and so are his lyrics. He expresses the little hells and heavens we all go through so accurately that I treat his music as my own therapy.
So, bottom line:
1. His angelic voice will not only cradle you through the song but will cradle you through the album and console you like a best friend whenever necessary.
2. Listen to the song… it’ll change your life.