Making a Case for Mystery

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Tuesday's Song

  • Song: "Hold On, Hold On"
  • Artist: Neko Case
  • CD: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
  • Genre: Alternative Country

The stories in Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood are the opposite of tidy narratives: They're fragmentary bits, much like the vignettes of the Oscar-winning film Crash, intended to isolate and freeze moments in time.

Neko Case in a pickup truck.

Neko Case's songs suggest truths left untold. Dennis Kleiman hide caption

itoggle caption Dennis Kleiman

One such episode pops up in the second verse of "Hold On, Hold On," a transfixingly slithering rocker Case recorded with The Sadies. It opens with her escape from a wedding reception: "I leave the party at 3 a.m. / alone, thank God." There's relief in her voice — she's dodged a late-night assignation she would have regretted in the morning. But she didn't leave empty-handed: The bride slipped her a Valium.

This, she confesses, is a companion her character can deal with. In a voice oozing pleasure, she sings, "It's the devil I love." Is she an addict with intimacy issues? Or the "mean girl, or somebody's in-between girl" who's been scarred and therefore keeps her distance? Defying any songwriting codes that dictate a resolution by the last refrain, Case leaves everything hanging. In fact, she doesn't even bother with a big refrain.

Play it a few times, and the ambiguities multiply: There are at least half a dozen other stories lurking between these lines, and every one deserves a look.

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

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Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

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Album
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Artist
Neko Case
Released
2006

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Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Artist
Neko Case
Label
Anti

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