Plinkity plonkity plankity banjo twang: among my unabashed loves is folk music. Earthy, wood-laden, coarse, layered folk music, especially with well-written lyrics. All that plus an album inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, mythology, folklore, and apocalyptic literature?
Give it to me now.
“Thus Always To Tyrants” (a.k.a. sic semper tyrannis) demonstrates some of more memorable lyrics I’ve heard in folk (though the apotheosis still resides in Sufjan’s Carrie & Lowell). It’s a kind of clear poetry that’s simple yet evocative:
Let me die, let me drown, lay my bones in the ground
I will still come around when the time for sleep is through
Over hill, over dale, through the valley and vale
Do not weep, do not wail, I am coming home to you
Every tomb, every sea, spit the bones from your teeth
Let the ransomed be free as the revel meets the day
Let the valleys awake, let them rattle and shake
In the wind that remakes all that time has worn away
Plus, the album includes a twist on Danse Macabre! There are lovely, haunting images that spread throughout the songs, from the “ever-turning aeon” to wide heavens & lost cities. You can just taste the wheatgrass and feel the stomps and breathe the valley wind. Even if you’re not a fan of the music, it’d be worth taking a look at the lush verses that range from casually prophetic (“Soldier, Poet, King”) to subtly self-assertive (“Dear Wormwood”). Not many albums are capable of such a thematic yet diverse offering of lyrics.
Unrelated but fascinating: the Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark.