Song: “There Are Birds” by the Ruby Suns.
Song Link: Quiet Color.
Of all the songs I put into iTunes in 2008, the one with the most plays is “There Are Birds” by the Ruby Suns. Sitting here now, without pressing “play”, I couldn’t tell you a single lyric. I do know that a girl is singing, that the tempo is fuzzy and driving and that the drums tumble over each other in the breaks and then veer wide for some xylophone taps. Pretty tame for my “most-played” song of 2008. What gives?
I’ve been thinking about what I want from this song when I play it, and the best answer I can give is that I’m always moved by it’s ambience. In some way it mirrors how I feel – or want to feel; it flips the synapses and emotional weather inside of me inside-out, filling the physical space with my sonic body. (Phish alert!) In stormier times, it centers me, like a few deep breaths. The pace is the pulse. The drum tumbles are thought-transitions. The xylophone’s the glittery dust of imagination. The voice is serious, mindful, like it’s speaking to memory or telling you where to find something. There’s a little bit of Electrelane in her “ahhh’s”, something modern-European. Foreign but familiar. I dig this song.
Couldn’t tell you much else about the Ruby Suns. They’re from New Zealand, which is cool. I know I first heard of them because of this Pitchfork Review and went to their MySpace and was intrigued enough to go to iTunes. But “There Are Birds” is all I downloaded. Good impulse, thank god. That’s the magic of soundwaves and eardrums – sometimes you just know.
Thanks, Ruby Suns, for the friendship, the mirror, the comfort, the ambience. You’ve made this year better and brighter. And all for 99 cents! I feel like I owe you so much more…