I first heard Band of Horses in 2006 when a friend put “Part One” on a mix for me. Struck by the memorable vocal delivery, sweetness of the sound, and a growing interest in alt/indie rock, I went on to devour their first two albums Everything All the Time and Cease to Begin. Like many budding millennials, I ate up lovable, echoey emotional ballads like “Detlef Schrempf” and “No One’s Gonna Love You” on my iPod classic while contemplating my station in life… Ben Bridwell’s lessons standing in where high school geometry class couldn’t: “So take it as a song or a lesson to learn/And sometime soon be better than you were.”
In the height of cd-burning-to-show-i-like-you days (~2006-2010), I would pay the love of this band forward, kicking off many a mix with “The First Song” (a move I considered utterly groundbreaking, I’m sure).
After years of leaving this foundational indie-rock band on the backburner, Spotify snuck “In A Drawer” into a recent playlist and pulled me back in. And maybe that’s what this song from their latest album is intended to do: encourage listeners to revisit and accept recycled thoughts and feelings from the past.
The verses cull familiar sentiments together – old rugs, grandpa’s odd stories, creaky steps, long-forgotten drawers – to create a sense of warmth and intimacy with household references. But perhaps the most poignant metaphor lies in our catchy earworm chorus: “In a drawer, hidden in a drawer/ I found it at the bottom, I found it in a drawer.”
But what the f*ck did he find in a drawer, you may ask? His former self? A love that had been dormant? The fountain of youth? Perhaps all of the above!
What makes this song HIT even more is the evolved yet familiar sound with guest vocal harmonies and instrumentation from fellow indie kings like J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and Jason Lytle of Granddaddy. And bonus! It’s upbeat enough to make you want to get up and do a little jig (or is that just me?).
Listening activity: Drink a glass (or two) of wine and bop around to this track in your room.
Striking too is Ben Bridwell’s ability as a singer-songwriter to serve up life lessons in his lyrical textbooks, starting in 2006 and continuing through 2016:
I take the day and the lesson it taught me
Passing off blame to anybody is easy
But darling, you know it shouldn’t be like that
Can I go with you to the laundromat?
Even the invitation to go to the laundromat hints at the continuous cycle we’re in – returning, cleaning, cleansing, repeating – of minding our homes and our selves. If y’all know me, you know I hate doing laundry, but I think he’s onto something here.
This song is notable for its ability to creep into nostalgic territory – “A memory when you were young/Remembering a time long gone” – while still erring on the side of positivity – “Can’t go on, no I’ll go on.” Taking a dip into the past without full on regret is a tricky business, but I think we land somewhere safe after finding whatever we needed to in that mysterious drawer.