Certain Songs #1323: The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”

Album: Twin Cinema
Year: 2005

So, a little bit of inside baseball. A massive project like Certain Songs obviously needs some kind of process: as you can probably imagine, I don’t just wake up every morning and decide which song to post about that day. When things are going well, there’s usually at least a week or two between when I write a post and when you see it.

But even before that, there’s research: nearly every morning I’m watching videos of potential future songs in order to figure out what might make the cut. So for example, while I’m writing about “The Bleeding Heart Show” on September 7th, what was actually posted on September 7th was New Order’s “Your Silent Face,” and this morning I was watching videos by Oasis, even though you won’t see any Oasis posts for at least a month. And so it goes.

The reason I bring this up was because I learned something while doing the initial research for the New Pornographers back when I was posting about Neil Young. Anybody who uses YouTube a lot might notice that they save your searches, which is pretty helpful for someone like me. Except that they don’t save searches for “New Pornographers.” And while I have to assume that’s because of the word “pornographer,” it still seems silly.

Anyways, that little factlet doesn’t really have anything to do with “The Bleeding Heart Show,” which is one of those songs that you listen to just to get to the ending, because that ending is so transcendent.

You know how there are songs that you listen to just to get to the ending? The New Pornographers 2005 jam “The Bleeding Heart Show” just might be the epitome of that kind of song.

At first, it’s just A.C. Newman singing over a piano, acoustic guitar and occasional drum beat, Neko Case occasionally tossing out harmonies. Then eventually, the drums kick in, but they’re still holding back, while a melodica wafts its way through the song.

As the song builds, the guitars come in, until there’s a suddenly a level-up, as the whole band — and maybe half of the universe — starts singing.

Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hey la hey la hey la hey la
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

After a few of these, here comes Neko Case, rising above the din to sing:

We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
We have arrived too late to play
The bleeding heart showwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Even better, Neko’s holding the note on “showwwww” matches the rest of the band on “ohhhhhhhh” and it is an absolutely perfect indie-pop moment that should have been played on every single radio station in the universe. Which, of course, it wasn’t.

“The Bleeding Heart Show”

“The Bleeding Heart Show” performed live at NYC, 2007

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