“The Bleeding Heart Show” by The New Pornographers

“The Bleeding Heart Show” by The New Pornographers

September 18, 2018 0 By CPE

“I leapt across three or four beds into your arms, where I had hidden myself somewhere in your charms.”

TRACK MARKS: “THE BLEEDING HEART SHOW” BY THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

On paper “The Bleeding Heart Show” has a classic three-part structure, but that’s liberating for the song rather than limiting. It begins quietly with the plaintive chords of a lone piano. The drums kick in with Newman’s vocals, the lyrics somewhat nonsensical but seeming to detail the hazy morning after a rager, an impression reflected in the music, which sounds like it’s fumbling toward what it wants to be.

But it moves swiftly after two verses into the bridge, the drums escalating as Newman and Case build in urgency and solidarity, joined by a melodica, the harmonica’s carnival cousin. Then Newman drops out and a chorus of “oohs” takes over, carrying us as the instruments begin locking together and surging forward, exploding into the “hey-la” finale.

It’s a fist-pumping, chest-swelling blast of emotion, and for the next sixty seconds, it seems the band may go on forever, backing up each epic moment in your life.

Homage to The Bleeding Heart Show

You know how there are songs that you listen to just to get to the ending? The New Pornographers 2005 jam “The Bleeding Heart Show” just might be the epitome of that kind of song.

At first, it’s just A.C. Newman singing over a piano, acoustic guitar and occasional drum beat, Neko Case occasionally tossing out harmonies. Then eventually, the drums kick in, but they’re still holding back, while a melodica wafts its way through the song.

As the song builds, the guitars come in, until there’s a suddenly a level-up, as the whole band — and maybe half of the universe — starts singing.

Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

After a few of these, here comes Neko Case, rising above the din to sing:

We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Even better, Neko’s holding the note on “showwwww” matches the rest of the band on “ohhhhhhhh” and it is an absolutely perfect indie-pop moment that should have been played on every single radio station in the universe. Which, of course, it wasn’t.

I leapt across three or four beds into your arms
Where I had hidden myself somewhere in your charm
Our golden handshake has been smashed into this shape
It’s taken magic to a primitive new place
Watch them run, although it’s the minimum, heroic

We hunched together in one chair out on the deck
In snow that froze and fell down on the modern set
It looked as if I picked your name out of a hat
Next thing you know you are asleep in someone’s lap
Watch them run, although it’s the minimum, heroic

We quit the room
Quit so our thoughts could rest
Rest them, I’ll never move?
That’s when we grab a hold
Of whatever it is we fell into
Lousy with your contempt
With what the majestic cannot find
In the business of your lives
The perception, it is wrong, mile after mile
The phantom taste drinking wine from your heels

We have arrived too late to play the bleeding heart show.

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