“The Needle Has Landed” by Neko Case

“And if I knew then what’s so obvious now, you’d still be here baby.”

Here I am in traffic’s slow flow
Where the needle touched down
Carbon planes draw a cage round the air force base
Where the needle touched down
My foot on the brake it’s ok to fly low
Over poor Spanaway

An eagle swooped down from a semi-trailer
Took the name of your town from a sharp-toothed freighter
The needle’s the same that recorded and played
When you left me at the greyhound the year I moved away
And if I knew then what’s so obvious now
You’d still be here baby
My baby, baby

So that’s why I never come back here
That’s why they spit out my name
Your ex’s have clawed up the bible
Trying to keep me away
With the sledge of tectonic fever
The needle has landed again
Let it play

And the needle touched down
The needle is landing
And the needle touched down
The needle is landing

An eagle swooped down from a semi-trailer
Took the name of your town
From a sharp-toothed freighter
And if I knew then what’s so obvious now
You’d still be here

This song is a spiritual sequel to “Hold On, Hold On,” autobiographical with its references to Case’s childhood home of Washington state but finding her in a more confident state. It starts tempered, though tension is palpable. The tug-of-war between lost love, regret, and wanderlust roil together and push the song along. Case’s voice is like a curlicue of smoke above the pulsating drum pattern, winding guitar, and forlorn strings. Assuming the role of a pariah returning home a victor, Case jibes hecklers who previously clawed at the Bible looking for means to banish her, now brandishing some well-earned self-assurance. It’s a road song for driving through your hometown, not stopping as your tires kick up gravel behind you. As such, it’s the perfect way to wrap an album of visiting touchstones and characters, seeing the sights, and moving on better than when you arrived.

Cole Waterman, Review of FOx Confessor Brings the Flood

CPE

I'm routinely overestimated.

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