Tag Archives: james mercer

SONG: The Shins

“So Now What”

The other day my friend admitted the soundtrack to the movie Garden State was life-changing for her. Will Zach Braff deliver again with his new film & soundtrack? Wish I Was Here is a film that Braff wrote with his brother and it comes out next month. The soundtrack features Paul Simon, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Coldplay and this new tune from The Shins:

Wish I Was Here
Garden State

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LYRICS: The Shins

“Simple Song”

Two years ago, right around this time of year, I wrote about the lyrics of this song. I was listening intently to it the other day and I really think it’s worth a re-post.

James Mercer is probably one of my favorite songwriters. The opening lines of this tune are simple (no pun intended), but they strike me as so powerful…and so romantic! I can’t say I’m looking forward to Valentine’s day this year, but this particular love song really makes me smile:

“Well this is just a simple song, to say what you done
I told you ’bout all those fears, and away they did run
You sure must be strong
And you feel like an ocean made warm by the sun”

The Shins

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SONG: Broken Bells

“Holding On For Life”

I was thrilled to hear that the collaboration between James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) would continue with another Broken Bells album. After The Disco comes out in January and the single is spacey and electronic with hints of The Bee Gees. It’s safe to say, I’m psyched!

Broken Bells

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SONG: The Shins

“Young Pilgrims”

Such a great track…with amazing lyrics from James Mercer (as always!):

The Shins

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LIVE: The Shins

The Wang Center in Boston is such a beautiful building. To sit and see a show in that room is pretty much a guaranteed good time. Heading there with my family last week to finally see The Shins live, I knew I was in for a treat.

James Mercer has such a special voice and an incredibly unique approach to songwriting, and I’ve been a fan for a very long time. For me, hearing a tune from The Shins always brings up vivid memories and emotions. Whether it be a summer on the Cape with the Chutes Too Narrow vinyl spinning at all hours of the night or standing at a certain T stop in Boston waiting for the train with Wincing The Night Away on repeat in my earbuds…the music is very special to me.

I was delighted to hear a bunch of “older” material – “Kissing the Lipless”, “So Says I”, “Young Pilgrims”, “Saint Simon”, and the biggest crowd pleasers – “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang”. I expected to hear a lot from Wincing The Night Away, and they did play “Pam Berry” > “Phantom Limb” and “Australia” among others. In my opinion, that album’s opener “Sleeping Lessons” as the set closer was one of the highlights of the show.

I will say the encore was a little underwhelming. I did really enjoy a beautiful solo acoustic rendition of the new tune “September”, which started it off…but the rest of the tunes weren’t very memorable. I do applaud the idea that encores seem to be back in the hands of the band lately. As an audience member, I like the idea of not knowing when (or IF) the band will come back on and what they’ll play. So more power to James Mercer and his band for jamming out to end a lovely evening in Boston.

The Shins

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SONG: The Shins

“Phantom Limb”

I’ve been a fan of The Shins for a long time but I’ve never seen the band live. Tonight that changes as I check them out at the Wang in Boston. I’m going in blindly, not searching for any recent reviews or setlists. With the personnel of the band changing so drastically over the years, I don’t think I’ll expect to hear too much older stuff…but I have hopes that I’ll hear some tunes from Wincing The Night Away (2007), which was a very special album for me. This was the single:

The Shins

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Lyric Of The Week

The Shins – Simple Song

Since I first heard it, this song has had a very special place in my heart…and as all the lyrics reveal themselves to me, I’m more and more blown away.

“My life in an upturned boat, marooned on a cliff
You brought me a great big flood, and you gave me a lift
Girl what a gift
And you tell me with your tongue
And your breath goes in my lungs
And we float over the rift”

Check out the incredible solo acoustic performance of this tune below. James Mercer was one of my favorite singers before I saw this…and now I’m even more impressed by his ability to pull off this song so well without his band.

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