Champions of Red Wine

I can’t remember for sure but think I first heard “Champions of Red Wine” by Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers on KEXP Seattle’s The Morning Show with John Richards. Either that, or on Apple Music.

Anyway, The New Pornographers aren’t a band I know much about, though after reading about them today I see they’re a supergroup formed in 1997 of musicians well-known in the Vancouver, British Columbia area and who also have independent musical projects. A founding member, Canadian musician and songwriter Carl Newman (aka A.C. Newman), named the band after a 1966 Japanese satire film, The Pornographers.

“Champions of Red Wine” is uptempo and brilliantly played and produced, with a powerful, anchoring vocal chorus that builds up to the entry of the song’s lead singer, American singer-songwriter Neko Case, and fills spaces between her early lines then revisits later as a kind of tagline for the piece. The song starts with an electric guitar and arpeggiated synthesizer (plus a tambourine), and the melody kicks into gear once the drummer comes in. (Interesting sidebar: in a 2014 interview with the American non-profit National Public Radio, Case and songwriter Newman talk about the album Brill Bruisers and how, during the recording of the song, he was singing lead and Case was backup; in production, he removed his vocal from the mix and felt her singing was much better for the piece.)

The meaning of “Champions of Red Wine” is unclear. Some reviewers think it’s about a turbulent relationship (one that obviously includes consuming red wine together).

“We are champions of red wine, poured all over
It’s what we’re known for, the fine art of crossed lines
Crossed for old times, like starting over

Open up the headlamps, be poised to look for
You’re coming over, you’ve done your research
It has the force of water, and we’ve got a lot here

The steps I take, back to you
The steps I take, back to you

I think we could save lives, if we don’t spend them
Way undercover, I am not your love song
Love song gone wrong, I’m coming over

The steps I take, back to you
The steps I take, back to you

We are champions of red wine, poured all over
And we’re coming over, we’re coming over
We’re coming over, we’re coming over”

“Champions of Red Wine,” by Carl Newman.
Lyrics retrieved from AZLyrics.com.

The song is a high-energy piece I really enjoy hearing. I think it belongs on my Car and Bike Trainer Tunes playlist as motivation for one of the faster virtual group rides I join sometimes on Zwift.com!

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 the audio from The New Pornographers’ official YouTube channel:

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