I have been hearing “White Flag” quite a bit on the radio. I had a hard time keeping track of who sang it (it doesn’t help that this trio of women is called Joseph). But I have really grown to love the “ooh ooh” part and the screamed chorus.
So it’s interesting to see Bob Boilen’s blurb in which he says
My first experience seeing Joseph was in 2014 as an opening act in New York City. It was just the twins Meegan and Allison Closner and their older sister, Natalie Closner, and it was clear then they had something special. Over these two years, Joseph’s sound has grown beyond the Closners’ harmonies. Now, you’re likely to see them with a band or hear songs from their latest record, which is filled with sounds far beyond voice and acoustic guitar. It’s been a treat to witness Joseph’s journey, but I was also fairly thrilled that for their Tiny Desk the sisters stripped it down to their original setup: three voices and one guitar.
They play “White Flag” first. I was a bit disappointed at first because even though Bob loves the stripped down sound, I like the recorded version a lot. But by the end I was loving how great their voices work together. Plus I was able to hear the word a little better: “I’d rather be dead than live a lie…burn the white flag.” Natalie sings lead on this one, while Meegan and Allison do the great oooh oohs.
When the song is over Natalie tells us why she wrote the song: a response to everything going on in the world and how it wants to push you back into your home and stop you from going out and living your life and deciding no thank you I’m going to do that anyway.
Meegan introduces “I Don’t Mind” by saying it’s about sadness… and it was something she wanted someone to say to her about her sadness. But she realized she had to say it to herself before she could receive it from anyone else. She sings lead and it builds slowly with some harmonies coming in. I love how big it gets from such a small opening. The final chorus reminds me a bit of Lucius–big bold singing in close harmony.
I was delighted by how different the three songs sounded. “Canyon” sounds nothing like the other two–the chorus is powerful and hypnotic with the repeated sounds. It also has an incredible moment in the middle of the song where the twins are singing backing vocals and Natalie is singing a lead line and the three of them all end on a really long note together. It’s mesmerizing.
So even if I really like the album version, these versions are pretty spectacular.
[READ: February 27, 2017] “An Occurrence on the Beach of Varosha”
This is an excerpt from a novel called The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep and I’m glad I knew that going in because the story mentions some previous incidents and also ends rather dramatically but in an unfinished way.
Set in October 2012, Elias is on the beach at Varosha in Northern Cyprus, marveling at the size and number of the hotels that line the barbed wired fence on the beach. Elias’s aunt and uncle currently live on the Greek Cypriot side of the Green Line, but they were among the first to build a hotel there. However, there’s was just three stories with twenty-four room.
Elias is there ostensibly to check out he property to see if it is still standing during the conflict. He is capable of doing this because he is Canadian and has a foreign passport. Thus, he can cross the Green Line without trouble.
But it turns out that Elias met a woman. And they have been drinking. And now they are on a beach which is deserted. Her name is Eylül which means September in Turkish. She is a journalist from Istanbul. She was writing a major article about the situation and was impatient to finish her research and fly back home.
While they were drinking in the bar there were Turkish Cypriots watching them. He was nervous about them but she seemed unbothered by them. She said those men ought not to even be in Cyprus. The island should reunify and the Greek and Turkish Cypriots should share power.
Soon after the two are alone on the beach. He is being very gentlemanly and she appreciates that. But then he asks when he can stop being so gentlemanly. She pulls him down to the beach and they make love (we’re mostly inside his head and his neuroses as they do this).
There’s a wild moment when a flood of baby turtles digs out of the sand and crawls to the water right near them. It’s a magical moment which lats nowhere near long enough before they are interrupted by a bunch of men with flashlights. The two quickly get dressed and wait for the men.
I had many ideas of who them men might be–my ideas were more positive than Heighton’s (and less realistic I gather). I thought they might be people looking for the turtles or something. But no, it’s the drunken soldiers And they have guns (and it kind of means the turtles are something of a red herring).
The story gets violent really fast and ends abruptly.
I was pretty pissed at the ending. And while I really enjoyed the part I read I’m resentful for having this section end this way. And now I don’t want to read the rest because of it.