NPR logo A Downcast 'Discussion,' with Stumbling Drums

A Downcast 'Discussion,' with Stumbling Drums

Our Discussion

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Our Discussion (of the Matter)"
  • Artist: Nina Nastasia & Jim White
  • CD: You Follow Me
  • Genre: Indie-Folk

Nina Nastasia draws on turbulent, unsettled emotions. hide caption

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The track may be called "Our Discussion (of the Matter)," but the narrator of Nina Nastasia and Jim White's gorgeously turbulent song is mostly having a conversation with herself. She and her lover seem to be having a lovely time; "your hands hold on the railing as we glide across the bay" brings to mind a romantic boat ride, perhaps. But the singer is torn: "I might leave tomorrow to feel the joy of a new start," Nastasia sings, later adding, "I don't believe in the power of love / I don't believe in the wisdom of stone."

Nastasia, who's been making DIY singer-songwriter records for more than a decade, has one of those sadly downcast voices that's perfect for such sentiments; even her gentle guitar picking seems forlorn. But "Our Discussion" is far from standard-issue coffeehouse fodder. Nastasia's partner on the song — and on the entire You Follow Me album, out next month — is drummer Jim White of the Australian instrumental band Dirty Three. Instead of simply keeping a steady beat, White thumps and bumps around Nastasia. His drums sound like someone stumbling drunkenly down a hallway late at night, and they only enhance the unsettled emotions in play. Like that other guitar/drums duo The White Stripes, Nastasia and White know how to make the most of simple musical tools.

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Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

This column originally ran on July 23, 2007.

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