Sunday, February 5, 2012

Song #111 of 9999 - Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Pedro the Lion

Song #111 of 9999

Title: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Artist: Pedro the Lion
Year: 2000
Album: Winners Never Quit

I remember really enjoying this record by Pedro the Lion in 2000. The songs are simple with spare arrangements and intriguing lyrics. Although not every song is as lo-fi as the track featured here, it's a pretty mellow record and doesn't overstay its welcome at 39 minutes.

"Slow and Steady Wins the Race" is an interesting study in the different ways the interval of a fourth can be used as a dissonance. All of the first three lines end with 4-3 in the vocal line, but each is treated differently. In the first line, on the word "grandma," the fourth isn't dissonant at all but is part of the IV-I (Gmaj-Dmaj) progression. In the second, on the word "narrow" the fourth (C#) is augmented against the G Major chord in the guitar. And in the third, on the word "wandered," the fourth (D) is suspended over the A Major chord. Later, in the minor section the augmented fourth re-emerges over a VI chord (Bb). Maybe a little pedantic for such a lo-fi indie track, but it was something I noticed and that's why I write this stuff, right?

The lyrics remind me of an old Grimm fairy tale where children are occasionally depicted as vicious as they really are. But, like much of David Bazan's early work, it's rooted in religion as becomes clear in the second verse when the main character ascends to heaven and is rewarded for...failing to help his brother who (quite literally) strayed from the path? It's hard to know exactly where Bazan stood on this (im)morality tale, but I hope in his heart he viewed his main character as a delusional monster and not a faithful servant.

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