Certain Songs #1116: The Mavericks – “Would You Believe”

Album: The Mavericks
Year: 2003

As great as Trampoline was, it was clear that The Mavericks were running out of commercial steam, and they hadn’t quite yet turned into the cult act I suspect they are today, so they were either dropped by or left MCA, and Raul Malo released the first of his solo albums.

All of which meant it was five years before they came back with any new music, though when they did in 2003, it was well worth the wait, as The Mavericks (confusingly, their second self-titled album) (thank you Peter Gabriel) continued along the path set by its predecessors: some pop, some blues, some rock, some country, and the highlight, the almost dance hall “Would You Believe,” which wouldn’t have been out of place as a Kinks single.

No doubt a post-9/11 anxiety song, “Would You Believe” casts Malo as the everyman, seeing things happening that he just didn’t expect.

Sitting in my easy chair
Wondering ’bout what’s out there
Questioning the things I’ve heard before
Watching too much CNN
They say the world’s supposed to end
but I don’t pay attention anymore

Anchored by a driving piano, a chiming 12-string guitar and joyous horns all playing around and against the infectious melody line, “Would You Believe” is centered around an almost resigned vocal from Malo as he ponders the the end of the world, and how it makes him feel.

Would you believe?
It started sixteen billion years ago
It’s hard to conceive
We’d lose it all, and then where would we go?
Find another place?
Where they don’t know the human race.
You know the universe goes on… and on

Near the end, Malo runs out of words, and just repeats “Would you believe? / La-la-la-la-la-la-la” for a while, trusting the melody to do all of the heavy lifting, and after that the whole song breaks down for a bit, with the horns wandering around in the wilderness for awhile, but Malo gathers them together with a “1-2-3-4” and they all go marching off towards the horizon.

“Would You Believe?”

Official Video for “Would You Believe?” (muddy sound)

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