- 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's songs suggest truths left untold.
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."