As a musician, I often find myself feeling music a little bit deeper than the average person. I just have a passion for well written music, and I appreciate it when I hear it. Whether that be fantastic instrument playing, or the poetic lyrics. However, I have never quite connected to a song or artist the way that I have connected to Alt-J.
Who is Alt-J? A band who isn’t “well-known” or plastered all over the media. However, they are a rising artist, and it makes my heart swell with happiness to know that people are beginning to recognize true artistry when it presents itself.
The first time I heard of them, I was at a friend’s house. Occasionally one of the more popular songs would play in the coffee shop that I worked at, but other than that, I had never really sat down to listen to them until just recently. There is a song on their most recent album called “Hunger of the Pine” that really stood out to me. I wasn’t even sure why. I couldn’t really understand word for word what the vocalist was saying, but all I knew was that the song was gripping onto my heart and not letting go. It just made me feel broken, hurt, but it a way that made me realize that everything was going to be okay – almost hopeful. So, I decided to watch the music video. Maybe that would help me with my interpretation, right?
The video consisted of one man, running through the woods, and getting shot over and over with arrows. No matter how many times this man gets shot, he perseveres. Over and over… a shot to the leg, multiple shots to the chest, yet nothing is stopping him.
Honestly, this just confused me even more, considering making out the lyrics was still difficult for me. So finally, I looked them up.
Butterflies and needles
Line my seamed-up joinEncased in case I need it
In my stomach, for my heart
Chain mailHunger of the pineSleeplessly embracingYawn yearns into me
Plenty more tears in the seaAnd so you finally use it
Bedding with me you see at night
Your heart wears knight armourHunger of the pineSleeplessly
YouRealisation grew on me
As quickly as it takes your hand
To warm the cool side of the pillowI’m there for you, be there for me
I’ll hum the song the soldiers sing
As they march outside our windowHunger of the pineSleeplessly
YouUne immense espérance a traversée la terre
Une immense espérance a traversée ma peur
Throughout the contents of this song, he also throws in a little clip that says “I’m a female rebel” repeatedly when the beat of the song swells up.
After reading the lyrics to the song, I completely understood why it was gripping my heart the way that it was. I’m sure that I don’t have to explain to you all what the song means. He’s clearly yearning, aching, pining for someone that he loves very, very dearly. He talks about the amount of pain that he feels from his heartbreak, and then once you put the music video into play, it really shows just how he’s feeling. Heartbreak is a real pain. It’s a loss. It’s a suffering. It really does feel like your being stabbed in the chest multiple times throughout the day. The second that the person crosses your mind – BAM – instant heartache. If you meet someone with the same name – there it is again. When your phone vibrates, and though you know that it’s not them, you look thinking for just a split second that it’s a possibility that they could be talking to you, then you realize that you were right, they aren’t talking to you, and there it comes again. The sadness. Taking over your body and making you think that you’re dying.
I’ve never had music sit this way on my heart before, and honestly, it isn’t just this one song. Alt-J has several songs throughout both of his two albums that have latched on to my soul. Before I even knew the meanings of the songs, I felt the emotions that they poured into writing them, and that’s so rare in today’s society.
Everyone should really go listen to Alt-J if they haven’t already. They are growing more and more popular as the days go by. They actually just performed on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, and it was amazing. Give them a chance to sing beautiful music into your heart, because it’s rare that talent like this presents itself to the media. Take advantage! For your own sake.