July 16, 2007

Crowded HouseNeil Finn can do a wicked line in plaintive longing.

I don’t know if it’s his penchant for minor chords or what, but he’s the only male songwriter I know of who can, with a simple, delicate melody, get to the very marrow of love (in all its many forms). His best songs explore the complexities and paradoxical nature of love -- how it is so often a strange commingling of joy and heartbreak.

I have to admit that, as a rule, Crowded House are not to my taste. They’re a bit too -- dare I say it?? -- mainstream. (There, I said it). On every Crowded House album, though, there is at least one slow-burning Finn classic -- a nebulous paean to love -- that floors you with its simplicity and intensity.

Silent House, from Crowded House’s latest, Time on Earth, is one of those songs. It’s a beautiful, moving meditation on the bittersweet experience of watching a loved one recede into the twilight of old age.


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