54. This hill, my hill
November 5th, 2022
I wonder how the sound of our nostalgia compares, you and I. Anyone who's been subscribed to this newsletter long enough could likely guess mine: woozy horn sections, field recordings, strings, the sort of tipsy end-of-the-night torch songs that the Walkmen always excelled at. I can't explain any of these. I spent precisely zero time with brass bands in my formative years, but something about them just sounds like an idealised past. Trumpets are my sentimental kryptonite.
'Pure Michigan' is somebody else's nostalgia—Julian Klincewicz, one of those frighteningly young multi-hyphenate artists who has seemingly already collaborated with all the Important People you know and likely dozens you don't. The song is apparently part of some tenuously-conceived brand collaboration that I won't pretend to be the target demographic for—but the song! The song is the thing. A dreamy monologue about summers spent growing up in Michigan casually pitched over a lush string arrangement peppered with car engines, whining dogs, laughing and whispers, thunder and lightning.
It belongs to the same family of story songs delivered at a lilting amble as Bill Callahan's 'The Well', James Yorkston's 'Woozy With Cider', Tom Brosseau's 'Hard Luck Boy', or anything from Joanna Newsom's Ys, the Van Dyke Parks strings of which 'Pure Michigan' also has aspirations toward. But despite the comparisons, Klincewicz's story is deeply personal, packed with specificity—place names I don't recognise, people I don't know. The trick is that his fruit stands and promised lands feel like they could have been mine, too. They certainly sound similar.
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