Purposefully bashy and crashy, “Wake and Be Fine” offers an insistent tumble of lyrics in the verse, offset by the comparatively soothing waltz of the chorus, wherein front man Will Sheff assures himself, and us, that we’ll “wake and be fine.” The music itself reinforces the song’s theme and intention: the verses assaulting us with off-kilter semi-confusion, the chorus finding smoother footing, tapping into the consoling quality of the song’s partially disguised 3/4 time signature.
Normally uninterested in music videos, I will make an exception here and point you in the direction of the song’s visual presentation, below. It’s a stark yet dreamy black-and-white affair, with the lyrics, propaganda-like, commanding the viewer’s attention while the band, blurred and multiplied, plays in and around the words. Stay with it and you’ll see that the visual words begin to diverge from the sung words, which ingeniously enhances the song’s dream-scrambled chaos. Also interesting to note is that Sheff had the band play this song together, over and over, in a small recording space, waiting for a take in which no one made any mistakes at all, however slight. It took from 3 pm to 1 am, and I think knowing the determination and, even, slight desperation that informs the playing here adds to the vaguely surreal ambiance of the whole thing.
“Wake and Be Fine” is a song from Okkervil River’s new album, I Am Very Far, which due out next week on Jagjaguwar Records. This is the Austin-based band’s sixth album, and 13th year together. They have previously been featured on Fingertips in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. MP3 via Jagjaguwar.