Sunday, December 5, 2010

Leftovers (Songwriting) -> The Winter Months: Air Of December

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians: Air of December


A fluid, dreamy also-ran from Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, Air of December doesn't just provide an unusually mellow kick-off to a week of songs whose titles mention December, January, or February. It also speaks to the apocryphal origin story of the band, which involves Edie wandering up onto a bar stage to join the local folk-rock band New Bohemians on a whim, floating improvisational lyrics over their long instrumentals and proving herself worthy of frontwoman status as they moved forward into what would become, sadly, a pretty typical 80's career: a 2x platinum debut supported by a single mega-hit, followed by a slow drift into classic alt-rock obscurity.

I mean, just listen to it. The lyrics serve the tune, I suppose - one of the things I most admire about the early work which sprung from this unusual process - but all the same, the song sounds like it was an instrumental first, and one that evolved organically at that. And we can infer what we need to from the label, which lists all five of the band members as authors. My guess is, this one came out of a bunch of well-trained musicians' improvisational jam session, after which someone wrote down the best parts for sequence and structural purposes, Edie layered one of her infamous dreamscapes over it, and voila.

blog comments powered by Disqus