100 for 2000 – #71. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2007 – #1. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
(Sub Pop)

The ShinsWincing the Night Away. I feel like that’s all I have to say to explain how important this album is to me. Because I have such strong feelings about this record. This mix of anxiety, excitement, love, sadness, sense of self, poetry, transcendence and so much more. And when I mix those feelings into a soup and try to describe them, all I can say is the ShinsWincing the Night Away. This was my album of 2007.

I listened to this album a hell of a lot. The film clip for these songs in my head is London. Just walking around. If you walk along Kensington High Street near Royal Albert Hall, it’s an open sky. And the opening notes of Sleeping Lessons, at dusk, sounded like someone turning the stars on in the northern sky, one by one. This album got me through the winter and carried me through several years, a hell of a lot of Shins gigs and even last June, in New York, where I was lucky again, and saw them play with a new line-up.

Something about the open-ness of the lyrics that allows one to fall into their music completely. Well, it happens to me at least. It’s like a new pair of shoes that you put on immediately, and then wear all the time. The two bittersweet songs directly about girls – Girl Sailor and Turn On Me – shades of every girl I’ve ever known are hidden in those songs.

After Chutes Too Narrow, and album I loved so much, I was cautious about this new one. What if it wasn’t as good? But if anything, it’s better. And the weirder tracks that initially seemed cold and alien to me, and now amongst my favourites. Four years later, my favourite track is Red Rabbits, one of my least favourites to begin with. It will change again in six months I’m sure.

I loved this band all out of proportion. They are my band of the 00s. Their impact on me goes beyond quenching my musical thirsts. It’s wrapped up on how I live my life. As age continues to call, and blind passion fades, I wonder if I’ll ever feel this way about a band again. I hope I do.

I have danced to this record. I have moped to this record. I have loved to this record. I have been heartbroken with this record. I have lived a wonderful four years, with this record. And having said all that, any critical assessment on the music will just fall flat. I can’t be critical with this. I have chosen a side and that side is the Shins. So you can find that stuff elsewhere. The record got great reviews. I’m sure they wont be tough to find.

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