[Over the next few weeks, we'll be
favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1,
one track a day. Today, we take an in-depth look at song No. 13 on the
list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump to grab a free download of the track. Also
after the jump, check out songs No. 50-14 in the Top 50 list that will
update as it grows...]
Here's the short version: It's a perplexing record, for the most part, one that stridently goes against the conventions of modern-day album production. Courage, indeed, is as deeply rooted in its themes as it is in its vast arrangements. And make no mistake: It's an album, not a singles factory.
In that vein, it's a far different record than Midlake's 2006 breakthrough, The Trails of Van Occupanther, which, while hinting at fully embracing the complete album concept, spurred two singles, "Young Bride" and "Roscoe," that propelled the band to the success it still enjoys internationally today. And though a few songs from Courage were in fact released as singles ("Act of Man" and "Rulers, Ruling All Things"), that's not the idea at play on this disc; instead, the band uses the discs almost 42-minute runtime to craft a lush soundscape, filled with transporting lyricism and imagery.
It's understandable, then, that the disc enjoyed far greater acclaim in the U.K. than it did stateside. If there's one difference between the U.S. and the Old Country that's become increasingly clear in recent years, it's that, where we enjoy quantity, those listeners enjoy quality.
Courage is filled with quality -- but not on standout hit single. But don't kid yourself. There's plenty of greatness in Courage.