Endless Loop: South

threemilepilotHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“South” by Three Mile Pilot

It seems to be generally agreed upon that the music you discover, listen to, and obsess about as a teenager molds your tastes and preferences for the remainder of your life. And that’s certainly true. The bands and artists that got to me at 14 and 15 years old undeniably made their marks and created a kind of fervor within me to seek out certain sounds to appease the addict music-beast inside of me. It’s like that for a lot of us. But in my early to mid 20’s, I had a second renaissance of music discovery, one that was far more horizon broadening than anything that happened in my teens. I devoured everything. No genre or style was left unturned or unsampled. Every era made its way into my ears. And I found so much awesome stuff out there. If the bands I listened to as a teenager ignited my love of music, then the bands I discovered post-academia just cemented it.

San Diego’s Three Mile Pilot I discovered by virtue of the fact that a couple of their members are also in The Black Heart Procession, the Morricone-indebted, often funereal-demeanored band that I became mildly fanatical of after hearing 2002’s Amore Del Tropico. So down the sonic rabbit hole I went, eventually landing on Three Mile Pilot’s 1997 album Another Desert, Another Sea, and the epic, sweeping highlight, “South.”

The song opens with Tobias Nathaniel’s forlorn piano melody, solemn notes that slowly draw you in as Pall Jenkins’ labored vocals seem to lay his emotions to waste. Drums and guitar come into the mix gradually, swaying organ sections lulling the song into a calm, belying the impending turbulence, crashes, and crescendos. It’s all very operatic in a way, ups and downs, stillness and storms. And I have no idea what the song’s even about.

But that’s okay. The more I listen music, the more I have come to believe that it doesn’t matter what anything is actually about. What matters is how it makes you feel. How it affects you. I suppose the same could be said of any kind of art. And to me, “South” just sounds like remorse or regret…like something held dear has slipped away…like loss. It also evokes a sense of dread, the memories that you can’t wash away, the monsters that follow you to the end.

I’ve always been drawn to music that casts a somber shadow, either lyrically or melodically, and “South” has it in spades, wringing emotions through its building dramatics until everything eventually fades out…fades away.

“The southern fever calls to the opera circle south.”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>