Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Passenger – Let Her Go

We tried to ignore this, honestly. But it’s going to be #1 in the U.S. in like six weeks. We’re sorry.


Scott Mildenhall: Write your own Passenger adventure! “Only cut the grass when you wanna mow, only mend your clothes when you wanna sew, only use the lift when you break your toe, and you broke your toe, you broke your toe.” To denigrate this would be like shooting fish in a barrel, so take the positive: the protracted ending is going to catch out a lot of radio DJs, at least for the first thousand times they play it.

Alfred Soto: Well, la dee da: Al Stewart singing through cheesecloth.

Edward Okulicz: He lost his band for singing in a silly accent, and gained the world. The twinkling opening is promising, but the song is so much mush. The silly accent is really more James Blunt if someone with no wrist strength was trying to wring his neck.

Patrick St. Michel: This would have scored low just based on the lyrics, which just overflow with self pity (“everything you touch/only dies” — geez dude it’s a breakup, not a Greek tragedy). But oh man, that voice takes this down a few more pegs.

Jonathan Bogart: Weedy-voiced platitudes which fall apart after a second’s thought may have their place in the pop firmament, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them.

Brad Shoup: I do hope our kids are committing the cliches to memory, like White grandparents once hoped everyone got the Western-Civ immersion. It’s probably not fair to demand Passenger get off the land of “Big Yellow Taxi” and “You Don’t Miss Your Water”; even though he seems to’ve, I can’t expect his fans ended up here from Cat Stevens. But permaquiver has never been a hot look; I can’t believe someone indulged him in going a cappella.

Anthony Easton: A little more musically sophisticated than the Mumfordites, but equally banal in its maxims for love and life. Pretty much the textbook definition of competent but indifferent. 

Cecily Nowell-Smith: It’s easy to underestimate the appeal of hamfistedness. To say: how can people like this song, the lyrics are trite beyond belief and his grasp of rhyme is an embarrassment. How can people like this song, any hint of twinkling delicacy in the first verse is plodded into mediocrity by the tired thud of the band. How can people like this song, that unaccompanied outro goes on way too long. How can people like this song? Everything about it is obvious and average: the glurge of strings, the coo of backing singers, the sensitive-Joe-Pasquale mouth-full-of-marbles vocal. Which, I suppose, is the point of it. Sometimes people have feelings so small and tender and precious that a good song would just overwhelm them entirely, and then we’d never get anything done. It’s an important social function this song performs. But it’s still shit.

Reader average: [1.89] (28 votes)

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10 Responses to “Passenger – Let Her Go”

  1. Welcome back, Cecily! Great blurb, too.

  2. “Sensitive-Joe-Pasquale mouth-full-of-marbles vocal” – brilliant.

  3. Cecily’s blurb <3

  4. The most frustrating thing about this mediocre song is how unearned the build is. It sounds like he’s just repeating the same message over and over again and expecting that adding strings and a choir is somehow going to make it more profound. It’s all signifier with nothing to signify.

  5. best music writing 2013

  6. Wow, that is some great writing Cecily! So nice to find a group of people eloquently hating this atrocious song.

  7. Noooooo this thing is getting a push in the US now. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes inescapable.

  8. This song wouldn’t be so bad to me if not for the singer. His voice sounds so weedy that it seems like he’s parodying somebody, but I can’t tell whom.

  9. Yeah. The instrumentation is completely nondescript, but…my God, it sounds like he’s singing while pouring hydrogen peroxide over his cauterized arm.

  10. Just joining in to say how much I despise this guy’s voice. It’s so bad that it makes me worry about the culture that could produce such a thing.