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A New Shore
The best song for 2010? Steven Page's "A New Shore". Or specifically, it's my favorite moment in a song.

You know what I'm talking about... "the moment". That split-second noise that comes out of nowhere and shoots into your soul. The high screeching guitar skronk in Tool's "Sober". The accidental guitar rhythm in Radiohead's "Creep". Kurt Cobain snarling with a bent guitar note in "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

In this case it's the coda of the song which start at 2:48. Steven sings two words over and over again. "Land". "Ho". First as a solo in the center channel. Then his singing moves to the right speaker as he's doing a duet with himself with the left channel. Pretty cool, right? But wait.

The melody bounces back and forth between the two sides, and Steven is hitting the high A on a regular basis. Most songs would end here, but now a THIRD voice comes in. Tentative at first. But then for the last refrain, the trio hits a high note. Not the high A... that had already been sung before. No. The last note of the song is a D above high D. Sung operatic, slightly straining. I mean, there's castanets and strings, but that's not what you are listening to. It's the singer... cynical about his past, and weary about his future, but seeing terra firma once again. And it just kills me.

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A good friend of mine is a nearly obsessive Barenaked Ladies fan, and his comment to me after hearing this album is that "it is more like a Barenaked Ladies album than the latest BNL album." From him, that is the highest praise.

For all his difficulties over the past couple of years, Steven Page is clearly moving on, and demonstrating that a lot of the talent that made the BNL ensemble work was his.

Thanks for your take on this track. I'm going to have to hunt the album down and have a good listen to it.

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