Rhymes of an Hour

Today’s selection is a song whose title I mentioned in a July 2020 post. In that entry, I featured “Fade into You” by Santa Monica, California alternative rock band Mazzy Star. (Please check out my July 29, 2020 post for more information about the band.)

Re-reading the post today, I saw that Elbow frontperson Guy Garvey had played Mazzy Star’s “Rhymes of an Hour” in a July 2020 installment of Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour on BBC 6 Music. It must be a favourite of Garvey’s, as he played it again during his November 14, 2021 program. I didn’t remember hearing it in the earlier show but listening yesterday to the archive of the more recent program, the vocal of lead singer Hope Sandoval was familiar. I thought I heard a bit of American soul-rock singer Janis Joplin (1943-1970) in Sandoval’s voice, though with less of that raspy, electric quality.

Opening with a rich, deep electric guitar played by founding member David Roback (1958-2020) and a tambourine accompaniment, “Rhymes of an Hour” undeniably has a melancholy edge. But it’s still an enjoyable piece. As the song progresses, a rhythmic drum fill punctuates the end of each line. The instrumentation and singing are simple, but solid.

I think the song is about the sense of despair that can be amplified by one’s environment, like when a bleak sky or cold temperatures add to a feeling of helplessness or loneliness, for example.

“Cannot hear what you’re saying
Could I tell you so
And I can’t leave my troubles
And I’m going home

Lie and sleep
Under deep
You know

While the cold winter waitin’
While you stumble home
All these things we were searchin’
Now we just don’t know

Lie and sleep
Under deep
I think you know

For the rhymes of an hour
Now I’m goin’ home
And I can’t believe I’m nothin’
’Cause I’m coming down

Lie and sleep
Under deep
Do you know”

(“Rhymes of an Hour,” by David Roback, Hope Sandoval.
Unofficial lyrics courtesy of AZLyrics.com.)

This past week it’s been quite cold in Winnipeg, Canada, getting down to -22°C (-8°F). The sun has been out at times, but when it’s been cloudy or overcast, that has definitely made me think twice about going outside. Thankfully, my sweety and I live in a warm home and have plenty to eat, so there’s no need to go out and not much to be searching for. (Well, except for family Christmas presents…)

“Rhymes of an Hour” comes from the 1996 album Among My Swan.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio for the song from Mazzy Star’s official YouTube channel:

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