In Oasis’ actually great late era song “Little By Little,” Noel Gallagher sings, “True perfection has to be imperfect / I know that that sounds foolish but it’s true.” While perfection is impossible to achieve in music, I do believe that there is a such thing as a “perfect song.” I can’t really describe what makes a song “perfect,” but that “HOLY SHIT” feeling comes along once or twice a year for me after hearing a song for the first time.
I knew that “Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean was going to be my song of 2012 within seconds of watching his performance with the Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon right before channel ORANGE dropped in July of that year. Similarly, the simple piano riff in Rhye’s “The Fall” is still stuck in my head over a year after I first heard it, and I believe that the track’s raw emotionality is absolutely unparalleled in modern music. Whether it’s the lyrics, the emotions, or the goosebumps that come from hearing a great song for the first time, every now and then, a song can really feel perfect. And then, on a gloomy New York morning, “Palace” by the Antlers stops by your depressing cubicle on a seemingly endless Monday and leaves you absolutely speechless, rendering you unable to continue doing anything productive until you’ve replayed the track at least seven more times.
Hailing from Brooklyn, the Antlers have a history of crafting epic, yet unbelievably depressing songs in a way that Thom Yorke or Jonsi could only dream of. From the crescendo of “Two” to the falsetto of “Corsicana,” Peter Silberman makes topics such as cancer or suicide seem almost uplifting. “Palace” continues this trend, but one-ups everything in the Antlers’ already great back-catalogue.
Accompanied by simple yet elegant horns, the track begins with a beautiful piano riff, leading to the nostalgic first line, “You were simpler, you were lighter when we thought like little kids.” And then, all of a sudden, the track picks up as Silberman almost screams, “I swear I’ll find your light in the middle / where there’s so little late at night / down in the pit of the well,” leading to a crescendo that will absolutely be a live highlight when the Antlers inevitably go on tour later this year.
It’s beautiful. It’s poetic. It’s nostalgic. It’s hopeful. It’s depressing. It’s uplifting.
Antlers’ Familiars comes out on June 17th via Anti-. Stream “Palace” above.