I think it’s because Jordan’s voice alone could lift a truck.
The song meanders along in a slow 3:4, leaving plenty of room for her vocal to take over. The lyrics flow like dripping honey, hanging behind the beat until they come out in splashes. Each line is delivered with a whispery vibrato, achingly asking questions that never seem to be paired with an answer.
For a brief second, I really thought The Civil Wars had made amends.
There’s an instant sense of longing snuck gently upon the listener. The verses act as a deep breath in, begging for release.
Are you digging for treasure that you can’t find?
Are your arms getting tired from the searching?
Are you losing hope with no gold in sight?
Do you wonder if it’s worth it?
It’s not easy to get away with writing a song that’s almost entirely made up of questions. Leaving them unanswered just adds to the tension.
Are you watching for waves on the sandy shore,
enduring the ebb of the tide?
Are you looking back or longing for more?
Do you trust it will come with time?
If the tempo was any faster, if Jordan’s voice was any less slow and smooth, the song would feel too tightly packed, and there’d be no room for the listener to sit with the questions.
But even so, there needs to be some moment of release. The tension of the questions make the listener ache for a breath out.
My goodness, does the chorus deliver it.
And could you wait for what’s good?
Oh my darling, I wish you would.
Melodically, the song is a masterpiece; flowing beautifully and with timeless familiarity, you’ll be able to sing along after one listen. Guitar swells and short piano lines provide enough movement, as kicks and snares, breaking and receding like waves on a shore, relentlessly keep the time. All the while, Jordan’s voice is a calm, steady constant.
The obvious Joy Williams comparison and detailed lyricism beg the question: Are you going to listen to it?
I wish you would.
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