NPR logo The Sad Side of Spring

The Sad Side of Spring

Springtime Can Kill You

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Springtime Can Kill You"
  • Artist: Jolie Holland
  • CD: Springtime Can Kill You
  • Genre: Roots

Many of Jolie Holland's fatalistic, woozily paced songs come with a body count, but she rarely spares herself: She often sings about doomed lovers, and she ranks topmost among the damned. Roughly as cheerful as its title suggests, Springtime Can Kill You finds Holland falling prey to her own stubbornness, sullenness or drunkenness in song after song.

Jolie Holland finds a tiny shred of inspiration in springtime. Claude Shade hide caption

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Claude Shade

The album's title track even locates the sad underbelly of a season ordinarily associated with rebirth and renewal. For every blooming rose and swooning lover, she notes, there's a sad wallflower done in by missed opportunities. "You don't have the time for the least hesitation," she sings, commanding, "Get out of your house." In its own way, however, "Springtime Can Kill You" comes as close as Holland gets to writing an inspirational anthem, as she uses herself as a cautionary example ("Springtime can kill you / just like it did poor me") for those who opt to stay indoors.

Holland may be beyond salvation here, but not everyone is doomed to the same fate: "High on the moonshine, bodies entwine / Don't you see it's better this way?" The sentiment may be sad, but it says something for the season that it inspires Holland to find a ray of hope — for everyone else, anyway.

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

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Springtime Can Kill You
Jolie Holland
DBK Works

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