If there's one constant in Glen Hansard's career — as lead singer of The Frames, as co-star of the movie Once and as duet partner with Marketa Irglova in The Swell Season — it's his ability to capture the way intense emotions can make us feel both bigger and smaller than we are. He's got a way with conveying insecurity and regret, jealousy and disappointment, hope and pride. And he knows exactly how to wrap those feelings in songs that swoon, soar and seethe.
Song: "Feeling the Pull"
Artist: The Swell Season
CD: Strict Joy
courtesy of the artist
The Swell Season's "Feeling the Pull" expresses the way intense emotions can make us feel both bigger and smaller than we are.
The Swell Season's "Feeling the Pull" expresses the way intense emotions can make us feel both bigger and smaller than we are. courtesy of the artist
Naturally, The Swell Season's Strict Joy, Hansard and Irglova's follow-up to Once and its best-selling soundtrack, does a lot of that. But the central ingredient in their songs isn't their lovely intertwining voices, or his guitar, or her piano; it's their shared understanding that everyone wants more than they have, and that desire doesn't always coexist comfortably with contentment.
The notably Van Morrison-esque gem "Feeling the Pull" says quite a bit about that internal conflict in just two and a half propulsive minutes. The titular pull isn't lust or temptation so much as the need to do something, anything: "I'm feelin' so small against the big sky tonight," Hansard sings in the chorus, capturing in a few words what its like to feel dwarfed by the world, even as your heart strains to burst out of your chest.
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