Laura Veirs: Thoughts Of Summertime

It's wintertime, and a young woman's thoughts turn to summer. Laura Veirs' "July Flame" is a litany of warm-weather imagery: kites, lemonade, fireworks, a "sweet summer peach." All very indie Normal Rockwell — until she arrives at the simple, five-word chorus: "Can I call you mine?"

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "July Flame"
  • Artist: Laura Veirs
  • CD: July Flame
  • Genre: Folk-Pop
Laura Veirs i i

hide captionLaura Veirs' "July Flame" is a litany of warm-weather imagery: kites, lemonade, fireworks, a "sweet summer peach."

courtesy of the artist
Laura Veirs

Laura Veirs' "July Flame" is a litany of warm-weather imagery: kites, lemonade, fireworks, a "sweet summer peach."

courtesy of the artist

What's the connection? The key may lie in the phrase "unslakeable thirsting in the backyard" in the last verse. (Yes, "unslakeable," as in "insatiable," one example of Veirs' idiosyncratic use of language.) She's not crass enough to spell it out so explicitly, but she's equating emotional longing with heat-wave dehydration, in a wonderfully subtle way.

Much like the language, the arrangement is a model of sublime economy, built around Veirs' slender guitar part and gentle rhythmic accents. (With her sweet, breathy delivery, the Oregon-based Veirs sounds at times like an older, romantically thwarted Taylor Swift.) But as the song continues, the production gradually builds, as if matching her own escalating ache. By the end, she's been joined by a sighing string section and choir, adding up to an emotional outburst, if not total catharsis. It's as if she — and the song — have kept their emotions in check until they simply can't anymore.

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July Flame

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  • Album: July Flame
  • Artist: Laura Veirs
  • Released: 2010
 

Carbon Glacier

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  • Album: Carbon Glacier
  • Artist: Laura Veirs
 

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