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See These Bones

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Nada Surf: Five Minutes of Feeling Good

Nada Surf: Five Minutes of Feeling Good

See These Bones

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "See These Bones"
  • Artist: Nada Surf
  • CD: Lucky
  • Genre: Pop

Nada Surf is a rare creature: an indie-pop band that traffics in uplift and empathy. courtesy of Nada Surf hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of Nada Surf

Nada Surf has been plugging away since the mid-'90s, beginning as an alt-rock one-hit wonder (with the novelty song "Popular") and ultimately morphing into a rare creature: an indie-pop band that traffics in uplift and empathy. Not many of its peers would attempt a song with the chorus, "Always love / Hate will get you every time," and fewer still could make the sentiment seem poignant, even profound.

Singer Matthew Caws still has one of the kindest voices in rock, but the message behind "See These Bones" feels a bit more morbid and cryptic than Nada Surf usually gets: A parsing of the words yields something about the way our pending death renders grudges useless. Instead, the group opts to dispense its feel-goodery through a heart-swelling arrangement that builds power as it progresses through five glorious minutes.

About two-thirds of the way through "See These Bones," all that momentum suddenly leads to an almost overwhelmingly satisfying place, as a long buildup gives way to a richly produced anthem, flush with strings and full-blooded vocal harmonies. It's the sound of a resilient band, still hitting lofty peaks more than a decade into a great career.

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This story originally ran on Jan. 10, 2008.

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Lucky [Bonus CD]

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Album
Lucky [Bonus CD]
Artist
Nada Surf
Label
Barsuk
Released
2008

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