Twin Peaks was rocking it last year with the amount of singles they released, and they decided to release them as an album (aptly named Sweet ’17 Singles). If you haven’t listened to Twin Peaks before, I like to describe them as folk meets psychedelic, which overall makes them sound very 70s.
The first song, “Tossing Tears”, falls more on the psychedelic side. And it works really well with the song. I imagine psychedelic as being kind of in a trance, which can be confusing, and the song is about the singer not knowing what other people want him to say/do. The “na na” harmonies at the end of the song just further the trance-like feel, and make the song really cool. The album switches to upbeat and fun with “Under the Pines”. It’s not that the lyrics are super positive (“And now we walk together / Down a dark road, unafraid / With our shadows intertwined forever / On a moonlit promenade”) but the upbeat “la las” sung behind the chorus mixed with the trumpets that enter halfway through the song make it a great song to dance along to.
The tone is immediately switched again with “Shake Your Lonely”. It’s about a boy who’s upset, drinking and smoking excessively. The singer keeps reassuring him that life is going to get better. The song is very relaxing and reassuring, and is definitely a song I’m going to keep revisiting.
“Sun and the Trees” is a predominately instrumental track. The saxophone solo is truly amazing, and overall this is a very great transition song. This is followed up by “Come for Me”, which isn’t my favorite on the album. I was pleasantly suprised by the harmonica, though. I don’t hear artists use harmonicas much anymore.
“Fat Chance” shows the more folk side of Twin Peaks. “But I ain’t often home, keep company but feel alone / All the sights to see, I know where I could be / I’m a lonesome boy, but loneliness pair well with joy / All in all live, and learn what you can give that’s free.” I could definitely imagine Bob Dylan singing a song like this.
The next song, “Blue Coupe”, is one of the singles I previously heard, and it’s still probably my favorite from the album. I love the mix of acoustic guitar, piano, maracas, and what sounds like a güiro (the wooden fish-looking instrument people played in elementary school music class, and another underused instrument). I wouldn’t describe it as a nonsense song, but the lyrics don’t really have a point to them because the focus is on the music.
“On the Line” is unlike anything I’ve heard from Twin Peaks before. The vocalist’s voice seems to change, and the song is slow and beautiful. It’s also incredibly short, which makes me want to hear even more music like this from the band.
“With You” is the perfect partner to “Blue Coupe”. It’s also a lot of fun and plays around with different instruments. What those instruments are, I couldn’t tell you. Also, the acoustic guitar sounds different during the chorus. I’m not sure if it’s in a different key than what I usually hear, or if there’s another reason why it sounds different, but I really like the result.
I didn’t know if I would like “Just Because” at the beginning, because the whistles were a little annoying. But I really like the lyrics and the meaning behind them. “Just because I want you / Doesn’t mean that I want what you need / And just because you’re thinking what I’m thinking / Doesn’t mean you’re really thinking about me.” The lyrics aren’t really slow and depressing in the background, so it sounds more matter-of-fact than a sad song.
“In the Meadow” is another one of my favorites. The instrumentals are way louder than the vocals because, again, the focus is supposed to be the music. The lyrics are nothing special, but the instrumentals are really upbeat and fun.
I always love when the last song wraps up the album, and “We Will Not Make It (Not Without You)” does just that. It’s a purely instrumental song, and it incorporates a lot of the genres and moods that were played in the album.
The one problem I had with this album is that since they were all pre-released singles, it didn’t feel like an album. The songs weren’t organized in a way that they flowed well from one to the next. But most people don’t listen to albums from beginning to end anyways, so that’s just a minor complaint.
Overall, I really liked this album, and I wouldn’t be suprised if it became one of my favorite releases of the year.
By: Monica Brich