New track, “Again” from Villagers’ new album ‘The Art of Pretending to Swim’ is an atmospheric take on the feeling of rediscovering inspiration.
Its dreamy soundscape starts as a minimalist arrangement atop a continuous pulsating beat with the word “again” uttered on a loop, answering each lyrical line. As the song plays on, the simple acoustic guitar strumming and subtle piano are progressively joined by additional musical elements, building up to a vast wall of sound for the song’s climax.
I’ve found again (Again)
A space in my heart again (Again)
For God again (Again)
In the form of art again (Again)
Vocalist/guitarist Conor O’Brien’s mid to upper range vocal delivery adds a haunting emotion to his words – not unlike a younger version of his fellow Irish countryman Bono (U2). In this first verse he seems to be describing somewhat of a moment of reawakening. At some point along the way people can lose their love of creating. As our world becomes so consumed with other distractions, we can tend to lose sight of our artistic or creative side. Whether it’s through the pursuit of things such as money, success, or relationships we can sometimes forget what we are truly passionate about and we end up filling our creative void with a variety of other distractions without even realizing it.
To become reacquainted with our true passion can be as powerful as a religious experience.
I let it flow… (Again)
Into a bottomless hole again
As I feel it ripple and ready its soul again (Again)
Alone again (Again)
Once you’ve rediscovered that familiar feeling, you have to be open to allowing it to become part of you again. You have to accept that it’s right and let it once again fill that creative void that’s been occupied for so long by life’s other distractions. O’Brien may have felt that his music, at one point, had inadvertently taken the backseat and become overshadowed by other aspects of life, but was eventually able to not only find his way back to his art, but also find a way to make it a priority again. He found his way “home.”
We fall again (Again)
Under the spell again (Again)
And crawl again (Again)
Into the shell… (Again)
Whatever your creative or artistic passion may be, it can often feel as much like a curse as it does a blessing. For better or for worse, you may suffer for your art just as much as you enjoy it. Once you’ve accepted that pursuing your art is your true path – your destiny – then there should be no turning back. You have to keep the faith that no matter how many times you’ve fallen and had to crawl your way out, your art is worth it and will always eventually reward you in the long run.
Overall, the generally euphoric tone and subtle tenseness that propel its message of essentially becoming baptized by one’s art makes “Again” a unique and powerful track from Villagers.
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