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Birds Encouraged Him

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Jason Lytle Meets Some Motivational Speakers

Jason Lytle Meets Some Motivational Speakers

Birds Encouraged Him

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Birds Encouraged Him"
  • Artist: Jason Lytle
  • CD: Yours Truly, The Commuter
  • Genre: Rock
Jason Lytle 300

In "Birds Encouraged Him," Jason Lytle finds a small, dim ray of hope amid existential suffering. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

Given that he's recently weathered the break-up of his band Grandaddy, the termination of his relationship with a fiancee, financial hardship and a battle with drugs and alcohol, it probably shouldn't be surprising that Jason Lytle writes songs about giving up. Like "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot," from Grandaddy's 2000 masterpiece The Sophtware Slump, "Birds Encouraged Him" concerns a character who's running out of will. The protagonist's "ears could no more hear the story told," and he no longer "wonder[ed] of getting old." But birds intervened — birds of the "a little birdie told me" variety, it seems — and "encouraged him on life to hold."

The track comes from the Modesto, Calif., native's solo debut, Yours Truly, the Commuter. It recalls much of Grandaddy's work — that is, with live instruments and computer-generated sounds combining to evoke the cry of the sprawling, decayed West. The song opens with a lush swell of acoustic guitar, synthesizer, brisk percussion and a hiss that sounds like a plane taking off. But it ends with a few plucked strings and an explosion of bleeps and blips that sound like a dying motherboard, until the song has devolved into bubbling sounds and, finally, a simple drum-machine beat. Though it would be nice to believe the birds talked him out of doing himself in, the music almost suggests that the character has jumped off a cliff, landed in a body of water and survived — barely. Of course, that's just one interpretation. The beauty of Lytle's songs is that there's always hope amid the suffering.

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