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Glen Hansard – “Don’t Settle”

Oh hey, 2019 represent!  Sometimes a song is just too brilliant; too immediately impactful and emotionally profound to be placed on the back burner.  “Don’t Settle” falls into this category – a track that defines Hansard’s superb record This Wild Willing in such a way that putting off recognition is sheer folly.  This song has it all – from the sullen, Nick Cave reminiscent piano balladry early on to the brass horns that join the mix about halfway through – and then finally to the song’s emotional pinnacle and subsequent cathartic release of energy, where Hansard shouts into the surrounding emptiness like Roger Waters on ‘In The Flesh.’  It’s this transcendent moment where he doesn’t sound much like a folk artist at all…nope, two songs in to This Wild Willing, Glen Hansard is more like a modern day rock hero.

The track takes on even greater magnitude in the context of Hansard’s broader discography.  Understanding that he’s been a humble folk troubadour a la Damien Rice for most of his career helps illuminate exactly why his launching into emotionally wrought shouts should hit you like a freight train.  “Don’t Settle”, when it reaches this apex, is a gorgeous, epic, experimental indie-rock tour de force – and quite frankly one that came out of left field.  It’s an evolution from singer-songwriter to something more along the lines of post-folk – and the aftershocks of this moment ripple throughout This Wild Willing like a rock dropped into a still pond…because that’s basically what “Don’t Settle” is – a stone being cast into his typically quiet, understated approach.  When we talk about transformative moments, this is the kind of song we mean…and that I think most of us are always secretly hoping for growth this measurable – this impressive – from our favorite artists.  It’s a rare occurrence, but one that is ever so rewarding.

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





SowingSeason
06.05.19
Probably already my SOTY.

Dylan620
06.05.19
YES SOWING

SowingSeason
06.06.19
The third 2019 choice, but at this rate I'll end up with 6/100 (as opposed to the expected average of 10 per year) which I guess is to be anticipated given that material from the present year has less time to be evaluated.

This is one of the best songs I've heard in a while and would honestly be perfect if it weren't for the fact that the piano melody is basically 'Imagine'.

dmathias52
06.06.19
I think another wild thing about this transformation is that he's making it at 49 years of age and after being in the industry for almost 30 years. Not that that's necessarily "old", but it's an impressive age and time career-wise to go through an evolution like this.

neekafat
06.06.19
Yesyesyes I still prefer "Fool's Game" and "Race to the Bottom" but goddamn am I just glad he's getting the love he deserves on this site
also... "post-folk" (;

Dylan620
06.06.19
Honestly Sowing I didn't think of "Imagine" until you mentioned it - I'm reminded more of Midnight Choir's "Muddy River of Loneliness" personally

SowingSeason
06.06.19
Haven't heard that song so I'll have to compare. Regardless, the emotional peak of this song makes up for any coincidental melodic similarities.

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