First off, I should acknowledge that sharing this song kind of makes me an asshole. “Tightrope” was recently released as a special track for the charity compilation Dark Was The Night, which aims to raise money for AIDS awareness. I listened to it for the first time today and it’s very, very good, and I highly suggest killing two birds with one stone and purchasing a fantastic double album/donating to charity. I know it’s recession times and all (oh do I ever know), but at least it’s a doubly-justifiable purchase, no?
That said – holy shit! Yeasayer! “Tightrope”! YES! I may or may not have listened to this on repeat this morning. (I did.)
According to the Pitchfork: TV video I’ve shared below, Yeasayer had planned to use “Tightrope” as the single for their new album (!!! which I assume is done or mostly done since their recording blog lately is just hilarious picture montages, declaring things like sexy friday), but gave it to the Dark Was The Night people. (Not sure if that means it’ll still be the album single, but it still should be.) Such good dudes, those Yeasayer dudes. There’s a reason I chose them as one of the bands I’d most like to hang out with. Seriously, guys, if you’re out there, hit a girl up, I’ll buy you some beers!
Yeasayer: “Tightrope” (download)
If you’ve read this blog with any consistancy, you’ll know that Yeasayer has been a T-Sides fave since All Hour Cymbals was released in 2007. I have listened to All Hour Cymbals on a highly regular basis since then, and saw them a whopping four times last year, each one amazing.
“Tightrope” is not just one of Yeasayer’s best songs (which already says a lot), it’s just one of the best songs in general. I know, I know, I’m a blogger and therefore occasionally prone to hyperbole, but seriously, if you thought/think “2080” was a serious jam – and it is – “Tightrope” tops it.
“Tightrope” has been a fan favorite for the year or so that the band’s been playing it at live shows. All of the band’s unrecorded/new material has a surprisingly triumphant feel to it, in wild contrast with the doomsday-esque themes of All Hour Cymbals, and “Tightrope” is no exception, though it’s more challenge than victory lap.
It’s a simple song for Yeasayer, easily stripped of a lot of the electrical pyrotechnics that accompany most of their catalog (though it’s just as strong even when they’re there), flaunting Yeasayer’s pure ability to craft an enticing melody. With “Tightrope” they’ve made a song with the instant appeal of a pop tune, but without it really being a pop tune. The opening 15 second repeat of the melody is replayable on its own, evidenced by the fact that front-man Chris Keating almost waits an entire minute before entering with the stately inquiry, “So, you’re wishing that you never did all the embarrassing things you’ve done?” Writers talk about not wanting to waste words, and Yeasayer wastes nothing, from handclaps to hushed talking during the last few seconds. “Tightrope” is a perfect length, just enough to leave us wanting more, cliche as that may be.
For reasons only somewhat unbeknownst to me, my personal favorite part of the song comes when Keating dares his subject, “If you wanna get it big time, go ahead and get it, get it big time.” Here’s to thinking this song will probably help Yeasayer get it big time.
Yeasayer Official Site
Yeasayer on MySpace
To see videos of some different takes on “Tightrope,” click the jump.
Yeasayer playing another super stripped version of “Tightrope” for Takeaway shows (Note: “2080” is first, so if you’re inexplicably sick of that song, jump to the 6:05 mark).
Yeasayer playing a live version of “Tightrope” at the Echoplex in LA last January.
Mar 29, 2009
As a now and then lurker here, I’m glad you’re back in full swing, out and about reporting on music with your customary verve. I was afraid this was yet another blog that would wither into ether.
Mar 30, 2009
Well, gee, thanks! Nice comments like yours certainly give me even more reason to not let this blog wither into ether 🙂
Brandon Watson says:
Apr 3, 2009
I second this. I just found this blog, but I really enjoy it. Please keep posting more!
I love the name of your blog as well…
Apr 6, 2009
Thanks, Brandon! That’s so nice of you to say.
Apr 6, 2009
Here’s another version you might enjoy–taken from a studio session they did with a local radio station here in Minneapolis.
I don’t recall them playing Tightrope either of the times I’ve seen them, but a few friends tell me that it’s been in rotation for upwards of a year :-S
I love the song, my favorite on the Dark Was The Night comp for sure!
Apr 7, 2009
Thanks, Chris! That’s a pretty killer cut, too. The way each different version kills just seems like even more evidence of the song’s perfection.
I think they played “Tightrope” at most of the shows of theirs I saw last year (saw ’em four times…), but I’d have to go through my old notebooks to be sure.
Apr 9, 2009
You’re dead on – very cool to see how they switch it up given the environment. Can’t wait to see them again this summer!
T-Sides » Blog Archive » New Dirty Projectors: “The Stillness Is The Move” says:
Apr 13, 2009
[…] at SXSW, and check out the Dirty Projectors’ recent collaboration with David Byrne for the fabulous Dark Was The Night compilation, “Knotty […]
Manuel Iribarne says:
Jul 9, 2009
Hi guys first of all, thanks for your great music, en secondly you have recorded this version Pitchfork.tv – Yeasayer – Tightrope cos it’s very beatiful, i wanna get it if you can or want obviosly, anyway big hug from Argentinian Peace 🙂 Manu
T-Sides » Blog Archive » Top 15 Music-Related Things We’ve Been Hearing, Reading, Thinking About For The Past Two Months says:
Jul 24, 2009
[…] for an album. All Hour Cymbals is still still still on heavy play because it is so so good, and “Tightrope” is so so good, and it’s just so so hard not to get so so anxious/eager/greedy for more! Their “Odd […]
Yeasayer @ Bowery Ballroom, Monday, February 8th, & @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, Tuesday, February 9th | T-Sides says:
Mar 16, 2011
[…] Posts: T-Sides’ Decade in Review: Albums New Yeasayer: “Tightrope” T-Sides’ 2008 in Review: Concerts Ear Farm: The National, Yeasayer @ Central Park Summerstage […]