There’s something about water, particularly the untamed wildness of oceans, that has always piqued human interest. This is evident simply in the sheer amount of art, dating back centuries, that centers the ocean as its subject. Looking at seascapes, poems, choreography, books, photographs, songs and countless other representations, the influence of water is undeniable. It’s difficult to pinpoint just what pulls artists towards the ocean. For some it’s the pull of mystery and exploring the depth, the unknown of what truly lies beneath the deep surface. For others, it’s the waves on the surface; roiling and tumultuous one moment, at rest the next. Regardless of where motivation and curiosity lie, we have these large bodies of water to thank for so many of the gorgeous works we admire today.
Tired Runner’s debut song, “Port Song”, is another oceanic work that we can add to this ever-growing list. Although the gentle arrangement can be a bit sedate at points, the compelling lyrics make for a promising introduction to the world. It has a comfortingly consistent ebb and flow, staying even throughout the duration. Despite this initial calmness, there is an almost eerie underlying quality to the arrangement that is mirrored in the foreboding lyrics. The vocals are reminiscent of Richard Walters, who is gifted with the same quality of voice that lends itself so beautifully to storytelling. Layered with unease and regret, as if under the calmness there is something stretching and roiling in an attempt to break through to the surface.
“One last minute regret/ And oh the ship is leaving / And already listing in the bay / Just save yourself / Don’t think of anyone else / Just swim for shore / Don’t look back anymore”
The real bulk of the song is made up of this section continuously repeated. This use of repetition lends itself to the feeling that it is an inner dialogue. It’s a driving mantra laced with uncertainty and apprehension, hammered forward again and again. With the deep cry of the vocals, it’s as if he is trying to convince himself of a decision he is about to make, while knowing that it may not be the right one. This feeling of uncertainty when faced with a decision is a relatable one. We are constantly forced to make decisions that shape our paths, not knowing the outcome. It can be so difficult to make theses decisions when you’re faced with multiple choices, not knowing what the “right” one is. The ship listing in the bay gives the sense that the water is shifting and unsettled, as is he.
Driving and introspective, “Port Song” beautifully uses the tumultuous nature of the ocean to mirror inner feelings of regretful confusion. With gorgeous, melancholy vocals and compellingly succinct lyrics, Tired Runner has debuted a strong single. Next time you’re browsing YouTube or Spotify, add Port Song to your playlist. Whether you’re feeling confused and could use some comfort or are simple looking for something new to explore, I recommend giving Tired Runner a listen.