(This is our 3rd annual “Favorite Songs” series. It’s a forum for Range Life friends and family to share and celebrate the songs that moved us and meant something to us in 2010. Songs are presented in no particular order. We’re posting weekdays until we’re spent, so keep checking back. Submissions are welcome! Send a song link and whatever you want to write to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Song: “Better Water” by Power Animal
Song Link: Weekly Tape Deck
Willie Nelson’s never sounded like more of a force than he does reverse-sampled and pushed to the brink in the verses of “Better Water”. His voice, weathered and warbly, takes the place of – and is more pleasing than – any keyboard, piano, organ, synthesizer, wurlitzer. It’s a new instrument, readily applied as choral ecstasy. Fuck. Yes.
This seems like the kind of song you’d make if you took a break-up road trip with your girlfriend. And then she decided to fly home. And you grabbed a few old Willie Nelson cassettes from a highway gas station and played the shit out of them, blaring them to distortion as you drove, closing your eyes – recklessly – for 5 seconds, 6 seconds, singing out at the top of your lungs just to feel that release, that relief.
You want to thank – and incorporate – Willie. You want to remember your feelings of scattered worth, the sadness you felt because you couldn’t fundamentally fulfill someone you loved. You write it and sing it and record it, playing almost all the parts. And then you drink half a liter of whiskey, get sad and mad all over again, sit down at the broken drums and play out your stumbling, pounding heart.