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The Dear Hunter – “Waves”

Can a relatively conventional 4 minute alt-rock track really contend for song of the decade? Considering there is always something out there that’s more innovative, brilliant, and weird, I have to admit it is unusual.  However when you are as talented as The Dear Hunter is, any feat is made to look easy.  Effortless is as good of an adjective as any to describe their 2015 smash hit “Waves” – a track that combines all of your standard breakup cliches with a gorgeously bleak burial-at-sea metaphor.  As lead vocalist Casey Crescenzo passionately pleads “I can see the lighthouse”, it feels like bargaining, as images of waves knocking his ship sideways come more and more into focus.  It’s not your typical breakup song because The Dear Hunter is an atypically skilled bunch.  So when the experience wraps up with the utterance “I thought that I knew love, but it was just a wave crashing over us”, it feels all too easy to relate to.

It’s amusing to think that a band as eccentric as The Dear Hunter (who have composed an act in five parts and who also once wrote a 9-EP, 36-song collection) might see one of their most straightforward offerings ascend to the top of their entire discography.  “Waves” isn’t part of some grand scheme or concept, it’s just pure emotion set to the most sweeping melody that the band has ever written.  Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.





SowingSeason
03.14.19
keeping the train rolling

this song is amazing for what it is

Slex
03.14.19
Hell yes, both this and Gloria would be on my list

SowingSeason
03.14.19
nice, freddie...my next pick most likely would have been something off 2011's color spectrum, probably something off of either red or yellow but i'm not sure

hogan900
03.14.19
yeah great pick tbh

JohnnyoftheWell
03.14.19
Aww yes, so much love for this song and album

Slex
03.14.19
Shit, I totally forgot the color spectrum was this decade lol

GreyShadow
03.14.19
The Old Haunt and Mandala are my favorite 2 from this decade. Waves is obviously phenomenal though.

neekafat
03.14.19
Are you gonna do a hundo of these?

SowingSeason
03.14.19
I love both those songs especially Old Haunt
I also really like the lyrical throwback to it on The March

SowingSeason
03.15.19
@neeka I'd love to but realistically probably more like 50. We'll see what time permits.

Dylan620
03.15.19
This happens to be the only Dear Hunter song I've heard - one of my buddies played it one night I was a guest on her podcast. Good tune, where else should I go from here?

SowingSeason
03.15.19
I'd highly recommend the album this song is from: Act IV
The Color Spectrum is also amazing

Dylan620
03.15.19
You sure I should start with Act IV instead of going chronologically? I've always kinda assumed Act I would be where to start but was never quite sure

SowingSeason
03.15.19
If you're going to commit to listening to literally everything then yeah. But if you just want to see if the band is for you then those are the best IMO

Dylan620
03.15.19
Fairy 'nuff, will give Act IV a spin sometime over the next week or so

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Yeah and I'm obviously not trying to discourage you from approaching their discography the right way, I would just hate to see you lose interest before getting to what I personally feel is their best material!

furpa
03.15.19
Fuck yeah Dear Hunter best band woo!

Dylan620
03.15.19
FWIW I was incorrect about this being my only TDH song - last month my friend had me on her podcast again and she played "She's Always Singing"

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Ooh that's from my favorite Color Spectrum EP
Dylan listen to Misplaced Devotion it's the last song from Yellow

ProjectFreak
03.15.19
WOW this caught me be surprise. Great song though! Hearing this before Act IV came out got me to check out TDH after being really put off by their initial Acts. This song is stellar, but I would almost definitely give the nod to Gloria over this. Still a great pick.

Also, Dylan, I personally found Act I and II grating and pretentious (still haven't tried III). IV is a lot tighter and while some of the story details and recurring motifs will be lost on you, it's still a great album (this song and A Night On the Town in particular). Act V is even better -- almost every track is phenomenal (including the aforementioned Gloria)

ProjectFreak
03.15.19
Also... "smash hit"? Like 95% of the population has never heard of this band haha

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Haha sometimes popularity is exaggerated in my indie-isolated brain
To me Gang of Youths topped the 2017 charts even though that's undoubtedly untrue lol

Rowan5215
03.15.19
this probably wouldn't make my top 20 TDH but it's a nice write-up and I totally get the appeal

SowingSeason
03.15.19
TDH have a ton of amazing songs, but how this could evade anyone's top-20 is a head-scratcher to me.

Rowan5215
03.15.19
just not really the style I like from them, and it sounds like a Migrant song they retooled with some harmonies to be on one of the Acts (which while I like Migrant a fair bit means it has some pretty forced emotional climax moments)

pretty much all my favourite Dear Hunter moments are on 1, 2 or Colour Spectrum

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Understandable...for me it's all about IV and Color Spectrum. V is also pretty great.

ProjectFreak
03.15.19
pretty much all my favourite Dear Hunter moments are on IV, V or The Receiving End of Sirens


SowingSeason
03.15.19
No Color Spectrum? That's a little shocking.

ProjectFreak
03.15.19
I liked parts of Red but nothing else really stood out on my one listen

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Yellow > Red > Violet > Black > the rest IMO

neekafat
03.15.19
Gotcha (: Excited to jam them all sometime!

Dylan620
03.15.19
I ultimately decided to spin the Yellow EP in full while out on a walk around a lake, taking advantage of an early flash of spring - really enjoyed it, hit the EXACT vibe I was looking for.

Dylan620
03.15.19
@ProjectFreak, thanks for the guidance, so I guess I'll wind up checking IV and V first then? Though part of me is tempted to finish The Color Spectrum now that I've checked Yellow

SowingSeason
03.15.19
Just follow your whim. Whatever you're craving TDH has it. If you are digging the color spectrum vibe then just start there. That's where I started :-)

TundraL5Z
03.16.19
Waves is a truly breathtaking track! nice pick Sowing!

Pangea
03.16.19
this wouldn't be my dear hunter pick (i would go for either a night on the town or the march i think), but yeah nice song

SowingSeason
03.17.19
Thanks Tundra! And yeah Pangea, both of those would have also been excellent picks and are two of my favorites. It's hard to go wrong with TDH.

Dylan620
03.18.19
Update: I wound up going for The Color Spectrum and decided to slowly make my way through it over the past couple days. Finishing Indigo now, about to spin Violet. I'm impressed at how much ground that's been covered sonically so far.

SowingSeason
03.18.19
Awesome. That was my starting point for this band as well. Have a favorite EP yet?

Dylan620
03.18.19
Not sure, maybe Black so far (haven't made it to White just yet)?

chaywa
03.19.19
"“Waves” isn’t part of some grand scheme or concept."

The entirety of the Acts is a grand scheme! Not that I knew that as Waves my introduction to TDH (I've gone hella deep into the lore since though), but if ever there was a perfect song to hook you into a band, I can't think of one better than this!

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