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Fair to Midland – “The Greener Grass”

As a rather obvious indie/folk aficionado, I probably don’t have nearly enough progressive rock on this list – and in a decade where there has been some damn good examples.  Fair to Midland is a band that caught my ear in 2011 – their album, Arrows and Anchors, serving as one of the best records to kick off the new decade at that time.  As the years have passed by and blurred into one another, I’ve more or less forgotten about Fair to Midland – a band that dissolved out of a lack of funds of all things.  That’s why reflective projects such as this Top 100 Songs feature are so important to me on a personal level, because it gives me a chance to re-discover albums that impressed me at the time of their release, but fell by the wayside as the music industry saw an uptick in streaming, and access to music became so limitless that gems such as Arrows and Anchors became possible to forget.

When I re-played this album yesterday, some of my favorite hits immediately stood out again.  The roaring energy of “Whiskey & Ritalin”, the unforgettable chorus of “Musical Chairs”, the stirring underlying urgency of “Uh-Oh”, the zaniness of “Rikki Tikki Tavi”, the lush atmosphere of “Golden Parachutes” — it was all as I remembered it, maybe even slightly better (I bumped this remarkably consistent album from a 4.0 to a 4.5, and time will tell if it goes higher).  What I didn’t remember for whatever reason, and what caught me totally offguard, was the 11 minute monument of a closer, “The Greener Grass.”  How this escaped me back in ’11 I have no idea, but what I’m sure of now is that it easily goes toe-to-toe with the classic tunes I name-checked earlier in this paragraph.

Maybe I’m being hasty in crowning this as a song of the decade – after all, it’s fresh to me as of a day ago, and over the course of several more months and years I might decide that it should have been “Uh-Oh” or “Musical Chairs” to garner this spot.  But I’m so swept up in the magnificence of this track that the euphoria and hype is impossible to deny.  The long, winding progressive elements are better executed here than anywhere else on Arrows and Anchors, featuring both quiet and loud dynamics alongside Sudderth’s soaring choruses and jaw-dropping vocal range.  In terms of progressive rock in the last 10 years, I’m not sure I’ve heard anything quite as enjoyable as this.

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





SowingSeason
07.16.19
I never gave this album the attention it deserved in '11, but man is it dominating my listening time the last couple days.

SitarHero
07.16.19
Underratedly great album. Is it even possible to not love Musical Chairs?

BigHans
07.16.19
Short Haired Tornado m/

Jom
07.16.19
This is the hotness. A real bummer that they disbanded with no signs of reforming. Some members branched off to other ventures (Erstwhile), but they're not remotely close to what they created with those last two records.

3waycrash
07.16.19
Nice to see love for these guys. Always wondered what it'd be like if they were still around making music now.

SowingSeason
07.16.19
Thanks folks! This is such a badass album and song. So glad I chose to revisit it as part of my decade retrospective.

iswimfast
07.17.19
Yea this is my stuff right here. I think I'd still take Golden Parachutes but this is really, really close.

Dylan620
07.17.19
Short Haired Tornado m/ [2]

Was an all-time top 5 song for me during my high school years - probably still in my top 20

JesusCage
07.18.19
This album

JesusCage
07.18.19
I should revisit them more often. First album is awesome too.

JesusCage
07.18.19
Not the first, I was referring to Fables of Mayfly

Dylan620
07.18.19
Fables from a Mayfly is a top 20, maybe even top 15 album of all time for me. Was one of the first great loves Sput turned me on to so there's a huge amount of nostalgia

Dylan620
07.18.19
In fact I think Fables, TDAG, and Vheissu were the "holy trinity" of my early Sput discoveries - I had all three of them 5'd at the time but only Fables retains that rating

Dylan620
07.18.19
Actually replace "holy trinity" with "big four" - Themata deserves a mention too

neekafat
07.18.19
How do you keep dropping these right when I've first listened to them?

SitarHero
07.18.19
How are you only just discovering these Neeka?! As your internet friend and colleague I feel like I've failed you...

neekafat
07.22.19
Because I didn't listen to music seriously until 2016 ):

Masochist
07.25.19
Fair To Midland...so, so happy they got a mention! "Musical Chairs" is one of my personal songs of the decade, definitely, but any song you could have chosen off of here would be worthy of a spot.

SowingSeason
07.25.19
Yeah this song felt like their "best" although I enjoy Musical Chairs, Uh Oh, and possibly Golden Parachutes more on a personal level

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