May 18 — “Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes (2008, from the album Fleet Foxes).
Fleet Foxes is an indie folk quintet from Seattle. While they are five now, they started as six, and for at least a few more sentences, you’ll need to pretend that they’re still a sextet. They quietly self-released an eponymous EP in 2006, then they exploded onto the indie scene with the 2008 release of the Sun Giant EP and the Fleet Foxes album. Although their story happened a few years before, it’s an eerily similar story to that of The Head and The Heart. Small, folky six-piece band from Seattle makes a little record. They play a lot of local shows and always do well at the door. They sell out of the small run of their self-released record. They start to get a ton of play on myspace. Sub Pop records takes notice, and signs the “local” band to a contract. They get the attention that they deserve.

I can’t even describe how much I loved Sun Giant and the Fleet Foxes album. They came along at just the right time, and I had both of those on in extremely heavy rotation at my house and at my workplace for several months. I still love both of those records, but the passion has subsided a bit. I hoped that I would love the second record Helplessness Blues (2011) as much or more, but it just didn’t pan out that way. Maybe they set the bar too high with such a sensational debut album. Maybe I set my expectations too high. Although I like the new record, I don’t love it. In fact, Helplessness Blues failed even to make the top 22 in my year-end list of my favorite non-Canadian albums.

Today, though, I want to focus on how much I love Fleet Foxes. Specifically, the song “Ragged Wood”. This is that song.

“Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes

Unfortunately, I’m short on time today, so I won’t be able to give as much commentary as I would like to. This song is, perhaps, a perfect spring afternoon song. Of course the song says right in there “Spring is upon us”, but that has very little to do with it. It’s just a great spring song. Windows open. Volume up. Adult beverage in hand. Unless you’re driving. Then, it’s more like “windows open, volume up, taking your time to get there”.

Somebody who’s smarter than I am will have to chime in about the connection between this song and the poem “The Ragged Wood” by W.B. Yeats. Seriously. Please do.

I like that the song has two distinct parts. In the second part, there’s the incredible line

Lie to me if you will
….
Tell me anything you want
Any old lie will do
Call me
Back to
Back to you

We all know that feeling of wanting to reconcile with a recent ex. Maybe it’s not an ex at all. Just someone you want to be with, no matter what. Even under phony pretenses. I don’t even care what the made-up reason is. Just call me back and let’s make mends. All I want is to be with you. Of course another way of looking at that scenario is: I don’t care whether you’re sincere or not. I don’t even care if I’m sincere. Let’s just have this night” I guess there are other ways as well, but I’ve always preferred the former. In that hopeless romantic way, it sort of reminds me of that line in that Built To Spill song “The Weather”:

As long as it’s talking with you
Talk of the weather will do

I may or may not fill in more details later. For now, that’s all I have to give on this song.

Buy Fleet Foxes from the Sub Pop web store here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

2 responses to “May 18 — “Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes

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