I came at this song, England, from the wrong direction. I was watching Mumford & Sons perform an Unplugged concert where they covered this song. It was the first time I had heard it. I then searched YouTube for a live version of the song by the original group, The National, and found this. Incredible.
I can’t say that I have a lot of experience with The National and their music, but I love this song. It has one of my favorite opening lines ever: Someone send a runner through the weather that I’m under for the feeling that I lost today. It sent to me the Internet to search out how other people interpreted the lyrics. Yeah, I should do that on my own, but I was curious. I really think that a great melody with lousy lyrics doesn’t really work. But, great lyrics with even a very simple melody can be transformative. So even though I don’t write lyrics myself (yet), I recognize their importance. It’s even better when great lyrics are delivered within an equally great song, like here.
This is a live performance of the song England. This is an amazing song and performance. It builds. And with that you feel the building tension of lost love. And in the end, release, or resignation. If you’re like me, you will then feel exhausted. Combine all that with a non-traditional orchestration that includes horns and a violin; magical. The violin at the end is killer. This song has an energy to it that can only be experienced by listening. My words fail it. When you get done here, though, I suggest you go listen to the Mumford & Sons cover, it has a slightly different energy, but is no less convincing. Cheers.