Trashcan Sinatras "Weightlifting"
Songwriting analysis. How have I never heard this?
I can't understand how anybody could write such a beautiful Chorus. It makes me jealous really. Everything about this Chorus just feels like a breathe of air. I feel like somebody is hypnotizing me and telling me "You are going to be feeling perfectly fine in 3, 2, 1."
Trashcan Sinatras is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands of all time. I wish there was more information out there about these guys because I am just so amazed by their melodies. I still don't know why or how I hadn't even heard of these guys until a month ago. I'm sure somebody may have posted about them or told me about them at some point but I probably disregarded them base on their name alone. To me trashcan sinatras sounds like a punk band from the 80s. It's not a bad thing but its not my thing and I wouldn't really go out of my way to listen to a band with a name like that.
So discovering these guys was a weird thing. I was listening to the Pernice Brothers and randomly decided to google "bands like the Pernice Brothers" which took me to a reddit post that had a huge album art photo collage of bands that were favorites of somebody's and it had "Overcome by Happiness" on it. I assumed this person had some decent and obscure music tastes so I just dove in. I saw the album art to "Cake" and decided that the band name and the album art seemed at odds with each other. I figured I should investigate further and I am so glad that I did.
The first song I listened to was "Obscurity Knocks." I immediately heard The Smiths influence. I was sold. The Maj7 and Minor7 chords going back and forth. The neck pickup stratty jangly guitar tones. The Pre-Chorus and Chorus are so beautiful melodically. I just knew that nobody writes a song this good without at least having a few other decent songs.
So I went on to listen to the next most popular song on Spotify, weightlifting. Before I clicked it I almost disregarded it because it was from a 2004 Album. A full 14 years after the song I had just heard. I'm guilty of avoiding bands albums that are later in their career because typically I am let down. This was definitely not the case. Not to mention the song title. I mean "Weightlifting?" What is that? Is this about to be a song about lifting weights at the gym with your bros? That's not something I care about at all. I hit play.
I'm hit by something. Tom Jobim? Are we doing Tom Jobim? Are we playing triads with a dominant 7th in the bass? A over G? Is that bass just pedaling the root note this whole time? Is the song starting on the V chord or is it IV chord because of the bass note? Either way I'm intrigued. The vocals come in. So delicate and breathy.
"I discover the wheel and watch the buildings go by." That line makes no sense what is going on? Why does that make sense to me though? Who talks like that? Why does that seem like something I would say knowing full well it doesn't make much sense? That line just grabbed me. I feel like I understand this lyricist so well after hearing that line. Something about how he is painting these mental images in my head is all of the meaning that I need from him lyrically. He is one of those lyricists that is taking you somewhere with his words not telling you some kind of story and I love that. Also the use of alliteration is something that I don't think enough people point out in song lyrics. Wheel and Watch. He uses it here almost as if it's in place of a rhyme. Later he rhymes "soft" and "turn off" which creates this inner cadence to his lyrics that i just adore every time I hear a songwriter use it. He used it again when he sings "Don't become a burden say the word and be free." When I heard that I just knew I found a band that I am just going to fall completely in love with.
The subtle lead guitar part come into my left ear. Harmonizing the melody of the vocal as the melody changes for the pre-chorus. A beautiful moment of simple and effective contrapuntal movement. The background vocals great my ears in stereo as we enter the Chorus.
"You will find a great weightlifting. Easing your mind, a great weightlifting"
Hearing this finally got me. I was in a trance. Normally I don't fall for repetitive melodies and lyrics because I tend to find them boring and to just be lazy songwriting. Not in this case. I can't understand how anybody could write such a beautiful Chorus. It makes me jealous really. Everything about this Chorus just feels like a breathe of air. I feel like somebody is hypnotizing me and telling me "You are going to be feeling perfectly fine in 3, 2, 1." Well whatever it is it worked. I feel weightless and like the world really isn't completely on my shoulders. I had spent the whole night that night stressing out about money and work. It was actually a monday night and I'm not a regular drinker. I was stressed out though. I really only drink when I'm out seeing a band which doesn't happen much these days because I'm usually playing a gig myself. I found a few hard seltzers lying around after work that night and decided I'd have one or two. At this point I had already drank one of them. Still stressing out about all of my gigs that week. Hearing this chorus after drinking a 12oz white claw out of stress was really exactly what I needed to hear.
I was just feeling what the song was about. It was written for me in that moment. I got to experience it exactly how it was meant to be experienced and i couldn't have picked a better time to have heard it. I needed that message so badly in my life that night. I really believed that I was being hypnotized and it was working. The guitars in my ears for the chorus were being harmonized in stereo and i just couldn't get enough of it.
I love how the bass doesn't move on the first two chords of the chorus. Staying on G for both the G and the A chord. I don't know if I am hearing that correctly or not but it is absolutely beautiful whatever I'm hearing. Hearing that bass finally move is just so euphoric to me. It's such a key part of the song to me and the song would not be the same at all without it.
The outro to this song is probably my favorite part. When I listening to it I couldn't help but just think about some of the darker times in my life. Almost as if i was nostalgic for them, but more that I wish I could go back to them to have been a better person. It was almost like the song was telling me to think about who I've been in the past and who I am now and that I should be proud of where I am. I shouldn't carry the weight or the trauma of the past because the weight is being lifted. I am being treated shown through the music what a life without some of my negative experiences would feel like. I'm being reminded what life was like before the all the burdens and that i can forgive myself for my past mistakes.
The song did make me cry a little bit. I'm not going to pretend it didn't. It was one of the few songs that didn't make me cry because of some genius music theory thing or some lyric that sparked a particularly sad feeling within me. This song made me cry because it just completely changed my understanding of how a song can force a feeling upon you. I never really experienced music like this before. I'm super glad that I found this song and I can't wait to share it with someone at the moment that I feel they need it most. I believe this song can heal people and I think it is one of the greatest songs ever written. Maybe not my favorite Trashcan Sinatras song but easily the most unique in it's affect on me.