Ch. #39 – “The sounds of the season”

 

Today I’m continuing of sorts with one of the themes from the last instalment on the blog, namingly autumn and musical associations. As I’m writing this it’s truly the deepest of autumn in this part of the world; the trees have partly departed with their leaves and those that are left are in magnificent spectrum of colours from yellow to red, the outside temperature is just north of the 0° Celsius mark and there is a fine, so fine and steady rain that is so dense you can’t tell where the rain ends and where the cloud which the rain is presumably coming from starts…

I thoroughly understand why a lot of people don’t like this season but that I find a great charm with it. I could do without the increasingly shorter periods of daylight but otherwise I find it such a cosy time of the year.

One of the strongest evocations of autumn I have in music, not obviously, is a little number by 90s Swedish Pop-Rock sensation The Cardigans called “Erase/Rewind” from their much lauded and what I would claim to be their magnum opus “Grand Turismo” from 1998.

So what does “Erase/Rewind” have to do with autumn? Objectively and just looking at the surface value, well nothing really. There aren’t any direct reference to autumn in the lyrics nor is the song, to my knowledge, birthed with the season as a muse. But subjectively and personally there’s a lot of connections and associations to it.

If we start with talking about the instrumentals and the lyrics. What strikes you first as the song begins is the chill, almost subdued percussions. I don’t know for sure but I would venture to guess it’s a combination of drum machines and actual drums you hear. Whatever the how the sound creates this feeling of being half awake, half asleep or if we are to be a bit more more morbid half-dead, half-alive state.

A feeling that I personally translate well with what this season evokes emotionally for me. It’s a season where nature sorts of resets itself. Autumn represents to be an end of something, but also a beginning of something new.

Soon after in the song the bass jumps in, following the same tone and feeling of the percussions, and then an instrument that I think is a guitar but could very well also be a synth. Whatever the instrument is it’s just so fuzzy and creamy yet without sounding any bit aggressive, which otherwise fuzzy tones often do. You could definitely make associations of this sound to dreams and lucid state of mind, but I’m also make the associations to the weather of the season; it’s cold, it’s damp and you often feel like you are literally in a cloud without knowing where it ends. Yet there’s some warmth to it as well, which relate to the warm colours of the season in form of the all the brightly coloured leaves.

Then on top of these instrumentals singer Nina Persson delivers sparse lyrics, which in the delivery itself sits so well with the feelings conjured by the instrumentals. The lyrics are intended to be about a relationship between two persons I would assume, but since I’m already stuck with the sense of autumn hearing the songs the words of “erase”, “rewind” and “change” all reinforces for me the sense of being in the transgression of something old and dying to something new and vivid.

Finally personally I have a relationship with the song as part of a grander soundtrack of many autumn school breaks of my teenage years, where I spend many breaks on road trips with my family to the southern part of Sweden to play golf in a climate that still permitted it. Hearing “Erase/Rewind” during these trips while being immersed in those beautiful autumn landscapes of the countryside have branded this song, like many other, into my memory with this inescapable connection to the season.

Oh, the memories…

Whatever or not you have been hooked by my rambling about autumn if you have missed out on The Cardigans up until now I can’t recommend checking out the band enough and particular the aforementioned “Grand Turismo”, which is just a spectac record. While the band sadly isn’t active anymore there are reason why they have been repetitively asked to make comeback shows by festival and event organisers, and especially requested to perform songs from this very album, time and time again. And I consider myself lucky to have been able to catch one of those shows.

 

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