Nada Surf: Five Minutes of Feeling Good

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "See These Bones"
  • Artist: Nada Surf
  • CD: Lucky
  • Genre: Pop
Nada Surf 300

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.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

This story originally ran on Jan. 10, 2008.

Purchase Featured Music

Lucky [Bonus CD]

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Lucky [Bonus CD]
Nada Surf

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from