Strings

Strings

Young The Giant

This self-titled album dropped during my first year of college in San Luis Obispo. These melodies, for me, hold within them the simultaneous excitement and terror of moving from a small suburban town to a coastal college community. They have the taste of saltwater in the air and the warmth of the sun on my skin as I deliver pizzas with the windows down and my sunglasses on. 

The entire record has the beachy, coastal feel to it, exploring different sides of what the beach “feels” like (the track Islands makes me think of the beach at night, underwater). There isn’t a single track on this record that I would deem less than excellent, and I would highly recommend listening to it in its entirety. 

Strings, however, stands apart. I specifically remember listening to this song for the first time on my first 4 hour drive to SLO. It created this feeling of fullness and warmth, right beneath my ribcage, almost as an antithesis to the pit of emptiness that often accompanies bouts of depression, in the same spot. 

It was my first hearing of the song, but it had the same effect as settling into “your spot” on the couch, or sipping tea out of a familiar, story-backed mug. It’s like the idea of shalom, which is more than just peace, but more like “the way things should be”. 

Musical Magic

“In the Pocket”

If your foot isn’t tapping, or head bobbing, or shoulders shimmying, or SOMETHING, you don’t have a soul that music can touch. The groove is so strong, and it comes from the bass and the kick drum being “in the pocket”. They hit the notes strong and at the right time, but not so “perfect” that it’s robotic. It’s almost like the “right time” is just a tiny bit late (like a wizard). 

Bubbles or Sunlight? 

There’s a light guitar line, heavy laden with delay effects that pans across the soundscape from one ear to the other. Depending on how you listen, it can create audible bubbles from underwater, or glistening sunlight. Either way, both contribute to the beach feel. I’m curious: which one did you hear? 

Lovely lyricism 

I love when artists make the listener think, “why is that the title?” The word “strings” never appears in the lyrics. The two lovers are engaged in a love that’s temporary, it’s “lost in the summer” and “burning up”. Yet, at least one of them, has STRINGS attached, and nothing can break them. The tide, the flames, and even the liar’s words roll off her body. I think the line “We move in knots” is incredibly clever, depicting both the speed of ships (measured in knots) and the complications of love, like strings getting caught and tied up in knots.

As a bonus, the very last track on this record is a reprise of the song, like the strings have stayed attached through the whole album. The reprise also features musical strings! Give it a listen.

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