Colin Parker’s latest single, “With the Wind” makes me nostalgic.
Some of the harmonies take me back to my youth, where I was First Aid Kit, Fleet Foxes-obsessed kid, discovering Bon Iver for the first time on La Blogotheque harmonizing in the foyer of a Paris apartment building.
In fact: confession. My older sister has always been way cooler than me. She traveled all over the world while I stayed home; she got stick and poke tattoos in the downtime between hiking the entire United States while I held a Claire’s teddy bear getting my ears pierced at 19. While she was in college in Dublin, Ireland, I went somewhere closer to Dublin, Ohio.
You get the picture.
So when she was 17 (me, 14) telling me she was going to Bonnaroo, I decided I was gonna prove my coolness – that I was worthy to tag along – by finding the coolest new indie acts.
How? I googled random terms with the phrase “band” at the end. Yes, a first aid kit being in the drawer next to the desktop computer was how I came to fall in love with First Aid Kit when they were at their nascence, unfolding an entire realm of music I became obsessed with. And yes, we took a road trip down and got to see some of Colin Parker’s inspirations in person.
So it makes sense Colin’s music takes me back to that time, when folk and indie were barely separate, and the singer-songwriter was king. I can see “With the Wind” in its own Blogotheque-style show, a live singer walking through a breezy European capital while they charm the passerbyers with a brief moment of artistry and reflection.
Comparing himself to The Tallest Man On Earth “if he was a way worse guitar player”, Radiohead but “way less artistic” and Damien Rice “if he was a way worse song-writer”, Colin has no limits to his humility. But he does have a point: his attachment to his instrument is evident, giving him the experimentation and complexity of a guitar lick a la The Tallest Man On Earth; his vocals are high, clear, and whispery like Bon Iver; and his music has the melancholic, intense yet ephemereal feel of Damien Rice.
The song, lamenting but ultimately overcoming the loss of a relationship, explores the idea of letting go of old mementos and memories to let them go “with the wind”.
I’m going with the wind
I’m going with you
I’m going with the wind
I’ll be anywhere soon
I’m breaking my cocoon
The drums hit with a slow, heavy beat that I call the “lonely headbanger”. You’re headbanging, but with tears streaming down your face. The acoustic guitar is repetitive, but pleasantly so, as if the winds of change are gently carrying the song along whether the narrator is ready or not.
The particular beauty of the piece lies in the syncopated chorus, the accented and interjected “wind”s dotting the chorus with a sense of rising air, taking gentle flight. There’s no brilliant take off, which only highlights the sincerity of the feeling: rather than be an Icarus rocketing toward the sun, Colin is being brave enough to move on without entirely forgetting, to simply go with the flow of time.
Stopped rubber-necking for your Cherokee
‘Cause my therapist said it might help me sleep
I hate it when he’s right
[…] You followed me around like an 8-bit ghost
It was killing me holding the past too close
Electric guitar spices the song up, providing extra emphasis on moments that have a little more passion behind it. The electric guitar crescendo-ing on the line “I hate it when (my therapist’s) right” adds needed emphasis, as if bursts of resentment, and frustration are threatening to build back up, giving the repeated chorus a renewed sense of relief and escape as they flow into perfect harmony.
The journey out of old love and into new is not only melancholic, it is at times frustratingly common. It lies in the simple decision of moving on: to stop looking for their car downtown, to throw out the memento you wanted to brandish at your wedding as proof “you knew from the start”. God, it’s painful.
But ultimately Colin picks peace.
If the ability to move on, to go with the wind, brings even an ounce of the calm Colin creates in this song – in this chorus – then it’s worth trying. And it’s beautiful to think this song is a new memento, a testament to a self-love, to a resilience and strength whose melody can never be washed away.
With only three songs available on Spotify, there are (excitingly) many more mementos to come, songs for us to playlist, and stories to hear from Colin. And I can’t wait to see where the wind takes him.