Snowbirds and Townies

It’s been a while since I took the time to analyze an individual song, so I think I’ll devote most of today’s post to doing just that.


Further Seems Forever

I’m always impressed when I find high quality emo because it seems like most modern emo bands fall short of their goal of creating emotionally powerful punk rock. The problem is that the term “emo” is thrown around so much that it hits just about all the up-and-coming rock bands so that they will appeal to the new market, thus the term loses all meaning. But then you hear a band like Further Seems Forever and you get an idea of what true emo should sound like.

Their album The Moon is Down seems to lack all the conventional structure of a typical rock album. The songs just seem to chug along at a consistently powerful pace without letting up. And despite the fact that a song seems to continue along in the exact same way as it started, somewhere in the back of mind you know that something has changed. You know it has moved from verse to chorus, but the same basic structure remains. A friend of mine once said that Mozart defined one of the key features of good musical composition as the use of repetition with slight alterations to the musical structure with each repetition to prevent the music from becoming tedious. This is what Further Seems Forever does with each of their songs. As the same general rhythmic foundations keep progressing onwards, new elements are built on top of it to create something fresh yet familiar.

One of the tracks off of The Moon Is Down that best demonstrates Further Seems Forever’s compositional skills as well as their lyrical abilities is “Snowbirds and Townies.” The song seems to tell of a beach town in the south where tourists come to spend their winter vacations. More specifically, it deals with the young “working class boys” living in this town who dream of “girls from far away points / And better things like winter flings.” They wait for the young girls to come to their otherwise lonely town for a winter of romance when “young townies and tourists / find unlikely love at first sight.” But eventually spring comes and the tourists fly away and the young residents of the town “get burned in summer’s sun” both literally and figuratively. In other words the departure of the young girls has left them to face the summer heat in a state of emotional hurt and loneliness.

Then the song seems to focus on two specific people when the tune makes a seamless lyrics are phrased in the first person with the singer taking the place of one of the young townies and singing directly to one of the tourists. You can tell that he is caught up in the emotions of the moment through his hyperbolic expression of time: “This winter is lasting forever, / at least for tonight.” Then he goes into how much he will miss his winter romance when she flies back north. And he conveys how lonely he will be without her by saying, “so far from your charms, / that I can not bare, / another year, / in this long forgotten beach town, / we once shared.” In essence, without the tourists this town is barren and dull. Not only that, but the tourists have given these townies something to long for during the rest of the year until the next winter comes. The singer makes reference to this by saying, “And I know that you’re never / leaving me again. / No, not again,” which implies that this is cyclical event. The tourists come and have passionate flings with the townies during the winter, head back home when spring arrives, leaving the townies lonely and longing for the rest of the year, and then the tourists come back the next year to repeat the cycle. And as is stated in the first verse, “When season has come / the snowbirds have crowded the nights,” so it seems that the snowbirds are a sign of the beginning of a new season of wintry romance.

The story in the song is really quite powerful and very well delivered. It isn’t blatantly stated nor is it hidden behind obscure metaphors or clumsily worded descriptions. The mood of the song is greatly helped by the emotionally powerful churning of the guitars as they stir up your feelings. And during each verse, the singer’s voice seems to glide over the charged instrumentation with the gentle ease of a sea breeze blowing through the beach town carrying the wings of the snowbirds. Underneath these layers, the gentle tinkle of a piano can be heard in the first verse and a chorus of synthesized violins in the second verse to emphasize the gentle romance felt by these young townies as they encounter the tourists. And whereas the style of pretty typical emo singing that the vocalist uses during the chorus and the last part of the song has been played out by other bands, it works well in the context of this song. It emphasizes the passion experienced during these events. Yeah, I say that now, but I can see myself 30 years from now, looking back on this song, and thinking, “God, emo singers were so damn whiny!” Oh well, that doesn’t change the fact that I think “Snowbirds and Townies” is an incredible song and that Further Seems Forever is a superb band. It’s just too bad that they’re breaking up. I would liked to have seen them live.

Buy The Moon Is Down by Further Seems Forever

Further Seems Forever – Snowbirds and Townies

You can find “Snowbirds and Townies” and other songs by Further Seems Forever at their Pure Volume account.

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