Nothing Good Comes to Those Who Wait

Nine years after its release, I still find the alternative rock compilation Arts & Crafts: X a captivating grouping of musical brilliance. No wonder it is one of my favourite compilation albums.

I’ve previously posted about two other tracks from the album: the hypnotic and brooding tale of a solo travelling musician, “Lonely Is as Lonely Does,” and the thoughtful and dreamy ballad, “Time Can Be Overcome.” Like those two, the other nine tracks on the collection are pairings of artists signed to the Canadian record label Arts & Crafts.

In “Nothing Good Comes to Those Who Wait,” the Montreal, Quebec indie pop/rock band Stars teams up with fellow Montrealer and singer, songwriter, rapper, classical composer, producer, actor and screenwriter Chilly Gonzales (the stage name for Jason Beck, b. 1972). I first came to know of Gonzales through his 2004 release, Solo Piano, the first of a series of albums. I think I heard that album during one of my daily visits to Parlour Coffee, one of the first of the third-wave coffee shops to open in Winnipeg, Canada.

The song opens slowly with solo piano, then voice, and builds incredible power as more voices and instruments enter to create a shifting, magical mix of sounds.

“You came to me
Last night in a dream
Through the dark
Hand to heart

You touched my face, electric scar
I ask you why, but there’s no voice
Just a look in your eye

Then the sun breaks through
I’m awake without you
How cruel this mind
To say goodbye twice

Leave me alone, why come to me
Just to leave, a cage no key
I crave the dark, I close the blinds
And force my mind

How I will wait
Oh how I will wait
For this bitter sleep to come
So this dream will care

Last night I had a dream that I woke up screaming
Only to realize that I was still dreaming
Nothing good comes to those who wait
Nothing ever comes ’til it comes too late

Last night I had a dream that I woke up screaming
Only to realize that I was still dreaming
Nothing good comes to those who wait
Nothing ever comes ’til it comes too late

There’s no cage in the world
That can come between us
We don’t need a kid
We’ve got a musical genius

There’s no cage in the world
That can come between us
We don’t need a kid
We’ve got a musical genius

Nothing good comes to those who wait
And nothing ever comes til it comes too late
Lost in impossible gospel
Playing solitaire with my own apostle

This is the cost of exhausted options
And colossal obstacles, constantly boxed in
I’m in mourning this morning in black pajamas
A life’s sentence with question marks and lots of commas

Too much baggage, my heart’s sluggish
This dream is meant to carry on
Hand luggage

Wide awake so I wrote these bars
I close my eyes and I hear stars”

“Nothing Good Comes to Those Who Wait,” by Amy Millan, Chris Seligman, Evan Cranley, Jason Beck, Patrick McGee, Torquil Campbell.
Lyrics retrieved from Deezer.com and corrected as sung.

The vocals are unique and masterfully varied, starting with Stars co-lead singer Amy Millan (b. 1973) solo, then her harmony with co-lead Torquil Campbell (b. 1972) at 0:47 into the song, then Campbell alone at 2:08 and, finally, a chill rap by Chilly Gonzales at 2:44 that brings the song to its close a minute later. All the while, there are electronic effects, like on the subdued-metallic electric guitar riff, then sounds like electronic crickets punctuating the end of each line on the third verse. In the fifth verse, Gonzales’ piano playing is like a conversation with the vocals.

Each time I listen to the song, I notice something new; today, it was the horns in the sixth verse. I also love Gonzales’ final line, “I close my eyes and I hear stars” which I always associate as him saying he’s hearing the band Stars.

With all its complex parts combined, “Nothing Good Comes to Those Who Wait” is a truly stunning work. If you don’t yet own it or the album Arts & Crafts: X, I urge you to buy it in support of Canadian music. You won’t be sorry you did.

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 is audio from the Bandcamp song page (and you can find the entire album here):

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