Monday, October 15, 2007

Shoot Out the Lights

Released in 1982, this was to be Richard and Linda Thompson's last album as a pair, and one of their last acts as a married couple. Critics go back and forth as to whether the album is "about" the upcoming divorce, which is kind of irrelevant. The break was surely in the making, as these things don't typically pop up overnight, even if the affair that brings them to light may.

And so, the record, maker of numerous best ever lists. For me it's all encapsulated in the last minute of song two, "Walking on a Wire." With Linda in the lead, Richard steps in to sing a "harmonic" back up, and all of a sudden they're singing together but apart like nothing you've ever heard, two strong, expressive voices fighting for supremacy, warbling and weaving around each other like the Blue Angels on Oxycontin. And there's undoubtedly some foretaste of a marriage on the way out here, however comely and compelling the form, like a vocal shard of the early Andy Gill gliding into a ballad.

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