Sunday, July 02, 2006

Snowden (2005) – Doves

On 2005’s Some Cities, Doves out-Coldplay, Coldplay. While the latter’s 2005 release, X & Y, indicates an artistic dégringolade—between appropriating wholesale Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love” riff (down to the key) and Chris Martin’s apparent relinquishment of lyric-writing duties to Gwyneth, or just as likely, daughter Apple—Doves take aim at the soar-core crown, exploiting the timbral similarity of Jimi Goodwin’s dampened intonation to Martin’s.

The song’s title references a character from Joseph Heller’s novel, Catch-22, whose rather gruesome death as a World War II fighter pilot was pivotal to the developmental crisis of the main character, Yossarian, transforming Yossarian’s attitude toward fighting in the war from patriotism to survival. At first, Goodwin assumes the roles of both men: Snowden, as he hemorrhages to death; Yossarian, as he realizes the futility of his life-saving efforts. The song dilates in epic scope, building from simple acoustic guitar strums and mermaid cove atmospherics, to disembarkment onto the shore, then a purposeful stride across the hinterland towards a dubious fate. Goodwin expands his perspective to soldiers who must go off to fight wars manufactured by their country’s government, muttering gripes beneath their breath as they sit stationed overseas. A sirenic choir of ghostly voices and Mellotronic strings coalesce in gothic beauty, serving as a soaring hook in lieu of a chorus, as mortaring drums forge ahead with clanging cymbals, escorting platoons to certain death. A squadron of troweling guitar, sinewy bass and clinking glockenspiel disintegrates into lo-fi flares of fuzz, detonating across a battlefield, followed by sustained echoes of guitar squeal that peal across the sky like wounded fighter jets emitting plumes of smoke as they plummet toward earth. Goodwin cuts back to the troops pondering their fate as they are thrown to the wolves: “If this will be our last summer / then why should we care?” However, it’s probably not concern for their own life which they are forsaking; rather, it’s more likely the justification for war that will cause them to desert the scheme of their orchestrated demise.

  • Listen to "Snowden" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
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