The New Pornographers
"Myriad Harbour"

“Myriad Harbour” stands in stark contrast with the rest of Challengers — whereas Carl Newman pushes towards lushness and grandiosity with your standard strings, horns, and assorted “respectable” instrumentation, this song evokes widescreen panoramic beauty without much fuss. I’m not sure if “understated” is exactly the right adjective given its level of production value, but it feels very airy and effortless when heard in the same sitting as Newman’s comparatively overwrought numbers, especially when you focus on the song’s elegant lead guitar refrain. All through Challengers, Newman seems like a guy desperately trying to articulate an overwhelming feeling that makes him feel a bit self-conscious, and Dan Bejar just slides along, casually tossing off pithy one-liners, thoughtful asides, and quick non-sequitors that somehow carry the weight of an entire album’s worth of tunes. (”All I ever wanted help with was YOU.” For me, right now, that line is like getting shot in the heart with an arrow of EMOTIONAL TRUTH.)

In the song, Dan Bejar plays himself as a hipster flaneur visiting Manhattan and casting about in search of entertainment, culture, and beauty. It’s a song about observation, really — look at the sunset, the pretty girls, PS1, the local art kids, the “Myriad Harbour.” There’s the pleasure of appreciating these moments, these places, people, and things, but there’s also a distinct sense of emotional detachment. He’s just passing through, and it’s all a distraction from someone he can’t get out of his head. (Originally posted 7/5/2007)

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    I have so many songs from 2007. It’s a year that I can claim as a favorite. I was surprised to find this one from...
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