Endless Loop: Sunset Coming On

malimusicHave 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.

“Sunset Coming On” by Damon Albarn

Simultaneously feeling wistful and content, like sitting on the shore listening to the tide crash and recede, watching the sun dim as it sinks into an ocean, alone in my head. Being sad but also at peace. Or, standing in the surf, wave after wave gently colliding into my body, my eyes closed, breathing it all in. Life is beautiful, but it can take its toll.

I’m not really sure what it is about “Sunset Coming On,” a warm and gorgeous track from Damon Albarn’s 2002 album Mali Music, that quells my nerves but also gives me feelings of longing. Sometimes it’s a notion akin to homesickness, and sometimes it’s a kind of false nostalgia for things that haven’t even happened yet, like I’m an old man or something, reflecting on my life before laying it all down one last time. It’s weird. I should probably cue this song somehow, so that it’s ready to go when I’m on my deathbed. Keep me warm, but let me know what I’m missing.

The song can put me in a strange place…but it’s always a good place.

Recorded with a number of local Malian musicians, including Afel Bocoum, Mali Music is one of Albarn’s forays into world sound and rhythm, a series of different projects that can often be uneven and yield some mixed results. As with most world-influenced music by western artists, the best moments from these albums are generally crafted when said artist manages to bridge the line between the two cultures, syncing different world sounds and ideas with western pop. On “Sunset Coming On,” Albarn sets the bar. The song feels exotic or foreign, all the while retaining those elements that make it familiar. And it’s beautiful. And it’s lonesome.

And it’s hopeful.


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.

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