Song Of The Day

Nada Surf: A Jolt Of Life-Affirming Energy

Nada Surf; credit: Peter Ellenby i i

Bill Fox's "Electrocution" is, in every way, a perfect fit for Nada Surf's sensibility and philosophy. Peter Ellenby hide caption

itoggle caption Peter Ellenby
Nada Surf; credit: Peter Ellenby

Bill Fox's "Electrocution" is, in every way, a perfect fit for Nada Surf's sensibility and philosophy.

Peter Ellenby

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Electrocution"
  • Artist: Nada Surf
  • CD: If I Had a Hi-Fi
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

Not many musicians can pull off relentless hope and sunny optimism while maintaining their gravitas, but Nada Surf makes it work. The Brooklyn band makes big, bright, chin-up rock 'n' roll about love and survival, aided by some of the brashest, sweetest choruses around, but it knows how to let wistful melancholy mingle with the sunshine. In one of its greatest songs, 2005's "Do It Again," singer Matthew Caws sums up his weary-but-hopeful worldview in one line: "Maybe this weight was a gift / like I had to see what I could lift."

Nada Surf's gift for wise rock uplift doesn't fade when the trio tackles other people's songs, either: Its fine new covers collection, If I Had a Hi-Fi, documents the group's ability to make even Depeche Mode sound like a bunch of hope-slinging life-lovers. Naturally, the album kicks off with what sounds exactly like a great new Nada Surf song — the band helpfully bills "Electrocution" as "Electrocution (Bill Fox)," making it clear that If I Had a Hi-Fi's existence has just a little something to do with getting Nada Surf fans into its members' favorite music. (Fox played in the Cleveland rock band The Mice, whose Doug Gillard guests on guitar here.)

It just so happens that "Electrocution" is, in every way, a perfect fit for Nada Surf's sensibility and philosophy; the electrocution referenced in the title is a stand-in for any old jolt of life-affirming energy. Fox's thoughtful words could just as easily come from Caws himself ("All that is beautiful / All that is needs to die"), as Nada Surf pays tribute to both a key influence and the idea that feeling alive is as important as being alive.

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Song Of The Day