(This is our second annual “Favorite Songs”series. It’s a chance for Range Life fans, friends and family to shout-out and share some of the songs that made 2009 better, dancier, more deeply felt, more memorable and enjoyable. Songs are presented in no particular order. Submissions are welcome! Send a song link and whatever you want to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Song: “From the Hips” by Cursive
Song Link: Saddle Creek
It would not surprise me to hear Casey Kasem’s voice on the radio say “And now, holding down the #1 spot on our Countdown for the 47th week in a row, it’s Omaha’s finest, Cursive, and their paean to primal urges, ‘From the Hips’!” Isn’t this the kind of music people want?
For a song about the inadequacy of language, it’s bafflingly well written. From the first time I heard it, I felt like it was my own angst being articulated and Tim Kasher just happened to be singing it. I imagine others felt the same way. Our lives are all tension and release – between thought and action, instinct and civility, between who we are to ourselves and how we’re perceived by others. The two opening stanzas of “From the Hips” hit like a crack in the void, with the light of the collective flames in our belly’s piercing through.
And then the band kicks in like a herd of horses, shattering the rest of the void into dust, letting all the tension we just felt run free until we’re circling the sun in some sort of triumph of the miracle of life. It might be the tea talking, but I feel like that’s a pretty measured, honest account.
When it slows down again, it’s so the personal can become political. “We’re at our worst when it’s from our lips/From our lips we caused a rift/And the World is falling in/From Babel to barroom brawls/Our words have formed a death sentence”. What? Team America! What? Bin Laden! What? Socialism! What? Church! There’s so much craven code we’re inundated with, such a bananas power struggle, that the sentiment is earned: “I wish that we had never talked/Our hips said it all!”
And then the Limoges shop of all our words, our platitudes, our cliches, our pleasantries, our promises, our la-la-lies gets gloriously demolished by the aluminum baseball bats of an expert band unleashing.
At least that’s how it feels.
And it feels pretty fucking good.