Happy hump day LemonWire readers. Here in Indianapolis, it’s another hot, hot day. If you’re in town and feeling the heat too, take a listen to our song of the day and let it cool you off. Today we’ll be looking at “Sunrise”, by Yeasayer.
So far this week, we’ve tried to find an appropriate song to go with the weather each day. On Monday we looked at “Who’ll Stop The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, to voice the complaints regarding the long string of rainy days we’ve seen. Yesterday, the sky cleared up. To mark the occasion, we listened to “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO.
And now, we’ve got another sunny day today. But this one’s been a bit of a scorcher. To stick with our loose theme this week, we’ll be looking at a sunny song by Yeasayer.
Yeasayer is an experimental rock trio from Brooklyn, New York that formed in 2006. The band consists of members Anand Wilder, Chris Keating, and Ira Wolf Tuton. They released their debut album, “All Hour Cymbals” in 2007. Their music has been described as containing elements of psychedelic pop, progressive rock, and world music.
Throughout their career, Yeasayer has never been afraid to continue experimenting with their sound. Their fifth and most recent studio album, “Erotic Reruns” was released just earlier this month, and showcases the amount of growth the band has gone through over the years.
“Sunrise” was released as a double A-side single along with “2080”, preceding the 2007 album, “All Hour Cymbals”. Both singles appear on the album.
As far as its musical composition goes, “Sunrise” is an upbeat song with a heavy bass riff that serves as a solid hook and backbone. “Sunrise” also includes a variety of auxiliary percussion, such as bells, hand claps, and electronic drums. Its combination of synths, choral harmonies, bass, and effects gives the song a lot of feel good energy.
The lyrics to “Sunrise” are a little different than those of the songs we’ve previously covered this week. While both “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” and “Mr. Blue Sky” are fairly straight forward lyrically, the meaning behind “Sunrise” is a bit more tenuous to grasp. But as always, we’ll do our best to provide a close look, and see if we can’t parse the meaning behind the words.
There aren’t many lyrics in “Sunrise”, but let’s start with the first verse anyway, and go from there.
“It all started with a stumble
And I get old and I get humble
The sky cracked a million ways
Making me blind”
In these lines, we can glean that “Sunrise” deals with aging. And, as a result of being a song about aging, it also becomes a song about death. This could be what the last two lines here are hinting at. The sky cracking open could allude to heaven’s gates opening as a signal of inevitable death.
In the second verse, we get more on the theme of aging. Here, however, we get another piece of the picture.
“Put the world upon your shoulder
I’ll stay young while I watch everyone getting older
You can take a million years
Out of my head”
These lines ask us to look at the song from a slightly different angle. It’s still about aging and death, but here we get a look at how the subject of the song chooses to live his life. “Staying young” could refer to a willingness to live freely and without a care. And as a result of this, the “million years” hyperbole stands for the sheer amount of memories and experiences gained by choosing to live this way.
“But I’m starting to lose my place
In the circles that I trace
And if I let go only then
Will my face”
Here, if we stick with our original interpretation, we see that even though he’s living a free life, it has become repetitive and labyrinthine. The last two lines lead into the chorus, “Get in the sunrise”, the metaphor that ties the song together.
The repeated chorus, “Get in the sunrise” could have several different interpretations. We could see it as a metaphor for death, transcendence, or actualizing one’s dreams into reality. But which one is the most likely, given the lens we’ve chose to look at this song? Considering Yeasayer’s psychedelic slant, my educated guess would be transcendence, or enlightenment. But until they release a full breakdown of the lyrics, I suppose we’ll never really know.
If you’ve got your own interpretations for Yeasayer’s “Sunrise”, feel free to leave them in a comment down below. Otherwise, we’ll be back with another song tomorrow.