“Beautiful Blue Sky” — Ought
It’s not often I listen to the same song more than once in a day. Perhaps twice if I’m driving somewhere far and I decide to play the album again. I know I certainly did that when I was a middle-schooler who had bought Pearl Jam’s Ten and finally got to listen to “Alive” under my own control and without relying on a radio.
It’s really been awhile. It’s a pretty conscious decision to not do so. I don’t want to overplay something for itself. A song, I tend to think, is like wine. Long gulps won’t do, the flavor would be missed. I want to appreciate the song on its own terms, in the context of its greater work, the album.
Then, Ought put out “Beautiful Blue Sky,” the single for their upcoming release Sun Coming Down. I had listened and liked it when it first came out several weeks ago. On Monday, I fell in love. I’ve listened at least 20 times now in the last two days. It’s over seven minutes long, and it’s gripping in its construction
“Beautiful Blue Sky,” like several other compositions by Ought has a sort of mantra-like repetition that propels the lyrics, as the music underneath tremors in a hypnotic pulse.
Lyrically, the lines read as small talk.
“How’s the family,” “how’s your health been,” “fancy seeing you here,” “How’s the church, how’s the job, beautiful weather here,” are just some of those lines.
Suddenly, the tone shifts.
“In the big beautiful blue sky, i’m no longer afraid to die, because that is all that i have left. Yes. And I am no longer afraid to dance tonight, because that is all that I have left,” Tim Darcy says in his David Byrnian intonation.
The moment’s like a dagger stabbing through the monotony indicated by the music and the small talk phrases uttered before. Maybe it’s because I’ve written about recent deaths, and so it has been on my mind. I can’t say. Whatever it is, “Beautiful Blue Sky” is a remarkably effective reminder to appreciate the small things in life. So I’ll keep listening.