It’s always tough to write about a song I love this much that’s only been in my life for a couple of years. I don’t have any real perspective on it. Will I love it this much 5, 10, 40 years from now?
Let’s just start with the facts: the first time I heard “Sun Glass” I fell instantly and deeply in love. As it stands, it’s easily one of my top 2 songs of the millennium (just behind “The Swish,” which we will get to soon enough.)
How’s that, Jim? I’ll swear on a stack of Ramones albums that “Sun Glass” is as powerful as “Holidays In the Sun,” as multi-layered as “Complete Control” and as beautiful as “Celebrated Summer.” It’s like Fucked Up somehow synthesized all of my favorite punk rock songs into a single ever-burning fireball.
Starting off with a shimmering acoustic guitar and a feedback swell that almost instantly explodes into the main riff via a Damian Abraham scream, the verses of “Sun Glass” are a dance between Abraham’s hardcore call and (overdubbed) backing vocalist Jonah Falco’s gorgeous response.
Slow motion streaks of colour scream and bloom
Rejuvenations ocean spume perfume
Amber statues, precious baby rubies
Forever sacred diamond eyes look through me
And it’s exactly at this point where an amazing rhythm guitar swoops in from direct from doing time on New Day Rising and completely obscures everything else in my mind with its sheer power. Half the times I hear “Sun Glass,” I’m singing “Sun glass!!” and the other half, I’m singing that guitar part.
Either way, I don’t even care if the words of that opening verse aren’t all that coherent. Because with music that sounds like this, who needs coherence?
“Sun Glass” doesn’t really have a chorus, but it does have a bridge that’s is coherence. The music quiets just a tiny bit, and Abraham sings:
We all get replaced
Retconned and upstaged
Life turns a page
When we turn away
The kids aren’t the same
New ways to vibrate
I can’t hear it
I can’t relate
I can’t change again
And as Abraham’s voice nearly falls apart singing “I can’t change again,” he’s rescued by a psychedelic shred guitar and the backing vocals, both of which guide him into the end of the song, and while Abraham was singing “sun glass” at the beginning of the song, he’s now only doing the calls.
Feel the sun
(Feel the sun)
Avert your gaze
(Avert your gaze)
Can’t look away
(Can’t look away)
The coda of “Sun Glass” is equal parts fury and beauty battling battling battling until the whole thing just falls apart into a series of overdubbed echoy drum beats.
In a weird way, that I can still love songs like this in my 50s just goes to show how much my brain was permanently rearranged in my 20s, as I will never ever not be seduced by songs that find this much balance between pure aggression and shameless beauty.
Can’t wait to find some punk rock song to love this much in my 80s.
Also: I love this video, which captures the essence of the song
Official video for “Sun Glass”
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