The Twilight Sad Gives Genius Its Due

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Some Things Last a Long Time"
  • Artist: The Twilight Sad
  • CD: Here, It Never Snowed. Yesterday It Did
  • Genre: Rock
The Twilight Sad 300

hide captionThe Twilight Sad never loses sight of the raw ache at the center of an oft-covered Daniel Johnston classic.

courtesy of The Twilight Sad

Daniel Johnston's songs are all about deceptive simplicity: Johnston himself may suffer from serious mental illness, and his work may be shrill and primitive, but his lyrical insight and innate gift for melody give him real justification to tote around the mantle of "genius."

Like much of Johnston's most durable work, "Some Things Last a Long Time" says more than its surface would seem to indicate: It's a heartbreaking ode to the devotion that lies at the heart of unrequited love. Fortunately, the rapidly rising Scottish band The Twilight Sad knows a little something about how to apply the grandiosity that the song's depth warrants. Wrapping his unmistakable brogue around Johnston's lyric (or is that the other way around?), singer James Graham infuses "Some Things Last a Long Time" with life-or-death urgency befitting a seven-and-a-half-minute monster epic.

Heard on a download-only EP (Here, It Never Snowed. Yesterday It Did), The Twilight Sad's reading of "Some Things Last a Long Time" is all about slow-burning ferocity. But for all its brooding and seething, it never tries to paint over the raw ache at the center of Johnston's words: "Time comes and goes," Graham sings with maximum earnestness. "All the while, I still think of you."

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