Album: Wild Loneliness
. . .
Somehow, we’re three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, but I still often think about how billions of lives and trillions of plans got derailed by it, even if I focus on all of the things I never got to experience in 2020 and 2021 because of it, especially when it came to my band, Sedan Delivery, who recorded an album in late 2019 and was just about to get it mastered for release when the world shut down.
When it became apparent that the shut down wasn’t going to be for two weeks — or even two months — we did what musicians around the world did: kept our sanity and musical connection together by recording songs bit by bit and piece by piece in our own homes. Hopefully, those recordings, — which I call Exile on Messenger — might eventually be released as bonus tracks to our second album, but they were quite literally one of the things that kept me relatively sane during one of the darkest periods I’ve ever lived through.
We weren’t the only ones of course: so-called “COVID albums” started coming out almost instantly, and probably will continue to do so over the next few years. It’s a weird way to record: not be being album to make an instant connection to any of the other musicians in the moment, but of course, it’s not exactly new, either.
Anyways, the result is Superchunk’s most lush album in the their second phase, as the circumstances allowed for more overdubbing — especially acoustic guitars — and more guest stars, including Mike Mills, Owen Palett, and on the single “Endless Summer,” Norman Blake & Raymond McGinley from the eternally great Teenage Fanclub.
While Wild Loneliness isn’t nearly as angry and political as What a Time To Be Alive, there’s still room for a song like “Endless Summer,” which blends noisy electric guitars and calmer acoustic guitars in service of Mac McCaughan worrying about climate change.
We used to like this song with snow piled up outside
We used to wonder when the mornings would turn mild
Now everything is upside down
From Lake Louise to Spanish Town
As aided by the harmonies of Blake & McGinley, you might not even notice how strong the words on the chorus of “Endless Summer” truly are. Until you do.
Is this the year the leaves don’t lose their color?
And hummingbirds, they don’t come back to hover
Now I’m a broken record
I’m year-round bummer, but
I’m not ready for an endless summer, no
I’m not ready for an endless summer
What I love about “Endless Summer” is it takes one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most well-known and happiest promises — the possibility that the magical summer you’re experiencing might never ever end — and stands it on its head: the potentiality of our upcoming endless summer is far worse than the mythological one we grew up on.
And, naturally, “Endless Summer” is one of those songs where you can just sit back and enjoy Jim Wilbur’s guitar leads, Mac’s preternaturally calm vocals — aided by his guests, natch — and Jon Wurster’s double-times at face value if you want, and if you miss the crunch, you know they’ll they can return to it at any time, as the live version below displays.
“Endless Summer” Official Lyric Video
“Endless Summer” Live on KEXP, 2022
“Endless Summer” live on the Current, 2022
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