About two years ago a friend of mine recommended that I should check out an indie rock group called Frightened Rabbit, and their recently released album The Midnight Organ Fight. Too many times before, friends suggested that I should listen to the latest band that was causing a stir on Pitchfork.com, only for me to discover that the hipness of the music sailed far over my head. Consequently, I approached this music recommendation with considerable skepticism. One listen through the album demolished this wall of skepticism, and a few more listens secured The Midnight Organ Fight’s place among my small group of favorite albums. What caused me to fall in love with the album was the unique way lead singer Scott Hutchison describes how he fell out of love. Yes, it is a breakup album, but it’s not like any breakup album you’ve heard before. Instead of using the various cliché “You broke my heart” phrases commonly found in breakup albums, Hutchison uses deeper, more disturbing lyrics to convey his pain. On one of the many highlights of the album, “The Modern Leper”, Hutchison holds nothing back when he belts “I am ill but I’m not dead/ And I don’t know which of those I prefer / Because that limb which I have lost / It was the only thing holding me up” (Some of the lyrics from other songs better emphasize the glorious gloom that Hutchison projects, but I’m not sure if they’re appropriate to directly put on this blog. So, here’s a link: http://www.metrolyrics.com/keep-yourself-warm-lyrics-frightened-rabbit.html).
As it tends to happen when one become a fan of a band, I eagerly anticipated Frightened Rabbit’s next album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, which they released this past March. Prior to the release of the album I repeatedly read articles online discussing how the new album’s lyrical content departs from the depressing themes of The Midnight Organ Fight; apparently Hutchison got over his love loss, and wished to tell the world about his newfound happiness. In addition to being skeptical of music recommendations from friends, I also approach style changes by my favorite bands with caution. Therefore, I originally listened to The Winter of Mixed Drinks with almost an expectation of disappointment. Once again, Frightened Rabbit proved I should have more faith in the musical world. Like how the previous album wasn’t a typical breakup album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks offered its own twist to the “reborn” theme. See, instead of describing how happy he is, Hutchison clings on to the unabashedly melancholy emotions that made the previous album a success, and chooses to about how he’s not miserable anymore. Actually, “Not Miserable” is the name of one of the standout songs from the album. The song opens with the more positive, but not really positive, “Well this is easier now / I found all the pieces I lost in the flood / And it wasn’t that much / And though it’s easier now / I will always remember the night that I almost drowned / All alone in a house.”
If you like honest lyricism and catchy hooks, check out the music video for their first single off of The Winter of Mixed Drinks, “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.”