A subtle drum fill cues a day-dreamy melody to kick-start this whimsical song. I imagine “Westbound” sounds best driving through the countryside on a hot summer day with the windows down, the wind blowing through your hair as your free hand, held out the window, moves up and down with the motion of the air currents alongside the car. Maybe a lover is sitting passenger’s side, gazing at the scenery: lush green trees, fields of yellow, purple and orange wildflowers, backed by a bright blue sky stamped with luscious white clouds.
A blend of Indie-folk and Americana, Wildie borrows story-telling-style lyricism from Bruce Springsteen, and vocalist Anders Thoren even has a Springsteen-esque quality in his voice – deep and full of emotion. Although they call Sweden home, Wildie sounds like they came straight out of America’s rust-belt with a little bit of blues influence behind some Billy Joel-inspired piano.
“Westbound” is a signature example of Wildie’s sound; soft, mellow and simple. It lacks intensity and overpowering instrumentals; perfect for showcasing strong vocals and meaningful lyrics.
While the backing piano and soft guitar riffs have an uplifting quality, painting the scenic picture of an afternoon countryside cruise in my head, the lyrics, immediately opening with admission of regret, tell a much different story.
I think I’m gonna regret today tomorrow,
but for now it won’t bring me down.
The narrator, sorrowful but simultaneously hopeful, begs us to go along “once more” as he is heading “Westbound” leaving behind… who? Us, the listener? A friend? A lover? Whomever it is, the delivery – the emotion in Thoren’s voice – leaves me empathetic, sharing his feelings.
While there are dozens of other bands that share Wildie’s style and sound, I think what makes this particular song unique is the juxtaposition created between the uplifting tone in the music and the sadness in the lyrics.
And the voice delivering them.
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