Songs You May Have Missed #590


Punch Brothers: “I Blew it Off” (2015)

The Punch Brothers are a difficult band to describe; you really have to listen.

With T-Bone Burnett producing, the band which rose from the ashes of Nickel Creek, helmed by mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, has broadened its palette on The Phosphorescent Blues. Classical music fuses surprisingly easily with acoustic Americana. At times it’s like listening to a bluegrass band fronting the Brodsky Quartet, or vice-versa.

The album’s concept, the view of modern life the band attempted to put across with this ambitious musical mix is explained by Thile thusly:

We often go to bars after shows or writing sessions, to be around other people for a little while. And I d see people just like me on their phones, telling people they wish they were there, texting people who really are there. Then a song would come on that somebody likes and then they see that someone else does too and maybe they both sing it together and that moment is spiritual, some shared experience, and they are interacting in the flesh, with their fellow man. And that s communion. Many of the songs on this record dive into that: how do we cultivate beautiful, three-dimensional experiences with our fellow man in this day and age?

The lyric of “I Blew it Off” conveys the flipside of this cultivation of common experience–the isolation that is possible in this age of the virtualification of more and more of our contact and communication:

Go ahead and bloody up your knuckles
Knockin’ at my door
I’ll blow ’em off
I’ll blow em off

’cause there’s nothin’ to say
That couldn’t just as well be sent
We’ve all got an American share
Of 21st century stress

See the oceans rise and leave the nations
Cryin’ at heaven’s door
I blew it off
I blew it off


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