It’s the little things.
Bones is one of those albums I’ve been falling for from the inside out — one memorable moment at a time. (I promise I wrote the first part of that last sentence without the album’s title in mind. Spooooooky.)
The one exception would be the big, bombastic “Change Is Everyting,” which I loved wholly and instantly when I saw Son Lux open for tUnE-yArDs at the National back in March. The rest of Bones has grabbed me one little piece at a time. Here are a few spots I thought y’all might have fun listening out for:
- The swift, now-it’s-here-now-it’s-not melodic theme that first appears at the 39-second mark and is quickly echoed an octave up. At least I think it’s an octave up… it’s so quick! Like the rabbits that live in my neighborhood but never stay in one place long enough for me to open my phone’s camera app. It’s like they’re allergic to Instragram or something.
- The swagger of the descending notes that open “You Don’t Know Me.” I can’t wait for the rap song that samples this. It’s going to be groovy as hell.
- The staccato female vocals in “This Time.” They remind me of the chorus of “Jesus Walks” in how militant they sound, as if soldiers were repeating them en masse while marching. So ominous.
- The “Change Is Everything” reference at the end of “This Time.” I love when albums have those kinds of threads woven through them.
- How the the title lyric explodes out of nowhere in “Your Day Will Come.” It sounds so hopeful, especially when you think that “your day” could simply appear out of nowhere — some perfect Tuesday where everything goes your way, or the morning you walk into work and get a promotion you didn’t realize you were up for.
- The descending guitar that shows up at the very end of “Undone.” It has this great humanizing effect, which is funny to think about — in so many contexts, electric guitar sounds like the mecha- to the acoustic guitar’s orga-. But these notes are played so delicately, and in this environment they sound so small and fragile and human.
- The way I can’t not bob my head when the chorus of “Now I Want” kicks in. The best part? It’s a chorus in more than one sense of the word — like the kind you’d find in a Greek drama.
- I have to set the scene a little for this last one. I was listening to the end of Bones while running past the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and had one of those American Beauty-style exploding heart moments with “Breathe Out.” On my right was this stately building flanked by sculptures and the sleek, electric red Chihuly reeds. On my left was a new street art installation — these colorful circular pieces arranged in a row, like if someone lined up a bunch of lolly pops. Meanwhile, the strings in “Breathe Out” were crisscrossing my brain, and it seemed like every type of culture — old, new, dark, light, high, low, visual, auditory — were mixing together and I started feeling that lucky-to-the-point-of-spoiled feeling. There are so many different types of beauty in the world, and Ryan Lott is the kind of person who can pull that beauty out of the air in so many different ways, whether he’s composing a film score or sequencing sounds for a song or singing his heart out at the National. I don’t know what the odds were of hearing those strings in that exact setting, but man was it cool.
I’m telling you — it’s the little things. They add up.
Son Lux — “Change Is Everything” [Spotify/iTunes]