Chicago’s Hemmingbirds just released a new EP titled Half A Second. The four song album explores the vastness of alternative jangle rock that sometimes feel like a commercial (“Stay”) while other times explores the expanse of freedom as the title track shakes up a concoction of breezy vocals and power chord muscle. But it’s the song, “Lover, You’re Out There,” that catches my eye. Intricate and expressive—listening to the song made me feel the same way as when I hear some post-Beatles’ Lennon tune (I blame the song’s drifting elements) or early Bowie (also the drifting). But what it really reminded me of was The Flaming Lips’ “In the Morning of the Magicians.”
The Lips song comes from the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1. In the context of the album, the song is nestled in as a divergence of rudimentary thought. It did not take off like “Fight Test” or “Do You Realize?” did. Maybe because those two songs posed questions that required static answers and raised awareness of what it is to be human (Do you realize we are all going to die?) When you listen to “In the Morning of the Magicians,” the song deviates several times into a musical meandering train of thought. It’s not a simple listen because the song exists on different dimensions: one being the music and the other being the lyrics. And even within the context of composition, there are different sub-levels of thought.
On “Lover, You’re Out There,” the Hemmingbirds have set up a parallel universe where the song also takes place in the morning and both bands are presenting a sense of exodus either through body and/or mind. The piano at the beginning sets up a somber mood. “In the morning I woke and the sparrows have passed. And your fever, it broke. And so you are free at last.” The song expresses a sense of liberty to the values of love and its shining attributes of exploration where the Flaming Lips simply look at uncertainty. “What is love and what is hate, and why does it matter?” Why should we care about these intrinsic human values? It’s a Socratic methodology. But Hemmingbirds have the answer. It is because these metaphysical attributes are what makes us free and lifts us beyond anything else in the universe.
It’s not to say that the Flaming Lips’ song is not important because it is. For “In the Morning of the Magician” we are asking ourselves what makes human life important and why do we as humans matter? And for the sake of argument, let’s hypothetically say both songs are focused on humans and not something extra-terrestial or based on artificial intelligence. With “Lover, You’re Out There,” the importance of human lives have been validated. That’s a given. It gives the song more time to focus on the freedom from the bonds that constrict our human emotions, even if that simply means the human form as we know it.
According to the Vishnu Creation Hymn, their was first darkness, and then there was a feeling; a need for something to happen. In any of the creation hymns they ponder the fact that something has to happen but first there was a motive for it (being the birth of our world) to happen. For the Hemmingbird’s song, it’s the re-birth of existence. The concept of love and hate are measured guidelines to the human psyche. “Lover, You’re Out There,” conveys that emotion more than the Lips could. There is a direction that is involved, even though the song spins into intangible mysticism that gives a hint of uncertainty in the plot: “All my senses are broken, will things be okay again?” And when that hits you, it becomes apparent how much more philosophically driven “Lover, You’re Out There” is. I don’t want to get lost in this song, nor do I want to rely on it for escapism, I want to embrace it because of its duality between our tangible universe, and the thought patterns in our minds. That you cannot get on “In the Morning of the Magicians,” only questions.