i'd like to review the whole Falling Off the Lavender Bridge album which i have plenty of thoughts on -- both on each individual track, and on the album as a whole.
but for now, let's focus on dry lips.
this song is interesting to me because i wasn't crazy about it the first few times i heard it, (that's not to say i thought it was bad, but that i was mostly indifferent to it). anyway, now i think it's a masterpiece. and the very structure of the song lends itself to that trajectory in appreciation. let me explain
the song starts off with this kinda upbeat folksy guitar riff that sounds like it'd be in the opening credits in a coming-of-age indie movie from the late 2000s or early 2010s, and it's quickly joined by (i think?) a mandolin, and then drums+bass. then the verse starts.
it's probably no surprise to anyone who's listened to the album so far, but despite the pleasant exterior demeanor, these lyrics aren't exactly happy to be here. no, these lyrics paint the picture of a clawing discomfort and anxiety, and of regretful pining too.
The verse ends with a crescendo by a second guitar playing some high-pitched chords building tension, and instead of a chorus the woodwinds and harmonica section comes in. The woodwinds in particular bring back a melody quietly foreshadowed by the bass when it first came in at the very beginning of the song.
Then we get a relatively subdued prechorus that has this rising chord progression meant to build even more tension. The lyrics here are still dejected, one stand-out line being
Then the woodwinds do this 8 note lead-in (F A B C D C B A) to the next section that makes you really want to hear a chorus, but then verse two starts. Verse two is similar to verse one melodically and chords-wise, but now there are woodwinds in the background that add a grandiose layer that wasn't there before,
When verse two ends, instead of getting another woodwinds-harmonica section, we go straight into prechorus two. Much like verse two, prechorus two is similar to the first but has also now added these woodwind flourishes, and i think violas? Then we get that same 8 note lead-in from before and now we're just begging to hear the chorus and then we finally get it and it's glorious.
i'm actually incapable of listening to this while, say driving, and not belting out this chorus.
it gets played once, then again with slightly different lyrics and guest vocals by Emmy the Great, which.. i lack the vocabulary to properly get across what i'm wanting to say, but her voice on this whole album is like butter for my ears. and i really mean that in the absolute best way possible. (i hope that wasn't weird to say)
then we get an incredible and climactic post-chorus/ending in the TELL HER. MY SWEET. TELL HER, MY DREAAM. and everything following that. I love everything about this ending.
So going back to what i had said before. i think this song didn't make an impression at first because it's the kind of song that necessarily requires more than one listen to appreciate fully. You couldn't realize what is being withheld and yanked from you after the first pre-chorus because you haven't heard it yet! It makes that chorus denial so much more impactful when you know what's coming later on in the song, and when it finally does hit, it's so satisfying. i'm sure this isn't the first song with only one chorus and it definitely won't be the last, but it executes it so masterfully. How the second verse and prechorus have added layers really makes this song essentially only ramp upwards in energy, tension, and anticipation. The song really just ends, but honestly i'm okay with that. it says what it need to say, and on such a high note too.