[The New Classics is a reoccurring segment in which we examine our favorite indie releases that are bound to replace our parent’s “classic rock” stash hidden in the attic or the basement. These aren’t reviews, these are unedited testimonies and opinions about why we love what we love. Can we get a witness?]
Words by Kelsey
Album: Putting the Days to Bed
Artist: The Long Winters
Released: July 25, 2006
Label: Barsuk Records
Producer: John Roderick
“I like the old days / But not all the old days / Only the good old days”
If there is one album that sums up my coming of age experience, it’s The Long Winters’ album Putting the Days to Bed. Few opening guitar chords can bring back such a rush of memories. Even the title reeks of wistfulness. This was the CD that lived in the kitchen of my first apartment. Putting the Days to Bed played while making dinner, during impromptu dance parties after coming home from the bar, and through late night study sessions fueled by endless cups of coffee. Days became like our seventh roommate.
I’m not entirely sure how Days came to be the go-to CD in our apartment. It probably started out of laziness. The CD was already there and ready to go, better to play it than go all the way upstairs to get another one. But then, like most albums you fall deeply in love with, the more we listened to it, the more we discovered reasons to love it, until it seemed strange to be in the kitchen and not have it playing.
There comes a point when certain albums become more like a personified relationship. You have history together. You know all the words, and yet you still find something new each time you listen to it. We came to know the music and lyrics so intimately that we could probably have sung every note on command, and spent meals interpreting and arguing the meaning of the words.
Despite lyrics which are largely nonsense based, singer/songwriter John Roderick tells stories of relationships (“My arms miss you / My hands miss you”), parental advice (“Honest, its alright to be a singer / but don’t you love a singer / whatever you do”), and frustration (“I don’t know why I bring you around / just to diss the art and look the part”). The topics are not just relatable, but are presented through creative metaphors, biting questions, and honest observations.
More energetic than their previous album, When I Pretend to Fall, Putting the Days to Bed is catchy and fun, right away with the opening track, “Pushover”. It features acoustic guitar, harmonies sung in thirds, and the heart-breaking line, “For you, I’m a pushover”
Midway through, we get to hear “Hindsight”, which is the longest track on the album, and probably my favorite. The chorus, “In hindsight, you’re gonna wish you were here”, previously offered a sort of artificial regret and melancholy. Now, it’s a little different hearing this track and finding myself truly nostalgic, and feeling a little sad that the 6 of us haven’t been in the same room together in years.
Days is not a depressing album however. Despite the melancholy and regret, the songs are arranged in an ultimately optimistic way, with the melodies and instrumentation remaining upbeat, and at times punchy. It’s a refreshing look at being at peace with the past, and acknowledging its affect on the present.
Maybe one of the best things about this record is its genuineness. It’s not gimmicky or full of special effects. It’s simply good music. The band plays honestly, and that’s what makes it so convincing.
There’s a lot to be said for the music we were raised on as kids, for The Beatles and The Stones, and whatever else our parents played for us. But that music was never really ours. Putting the Days to Bed is mine. Well, mine and my former roommates, and whoever else played this non-stop in 2006. Feel free to adopt it as yours also, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.