Song of the Week: “Polaroid” by Richmond Fontaine

by Douglas Cowie on 9 October 2015

Each Friday I pick a song–new, old, borrowed, blue–that’s been on my mind and in my ears, and write a short post about it.

This is “Polaroid” by Richmond Fontaine:

Richmond Fontaine has a new album coming in the nearish future, and for whatever reason, “Polaroid” has been getting regular spins by the DJ that controls what my brain plays for me when I’m walking around/trying to read/trying to sleep, so here you go.  Willy Vlautin is a great–and I mean great–songwriter, both within his musical idiom (or really, idioms, which range from these kinds of slow country numbers to harder rock along the lines of what people like to call alt-country, a tag that doesn’t really do anybody any favors, with some stops in between) and, in particular, as a lyricist.  Willy is also a novelist, and to my mind, anyway, one of the most genuinely vital and interesting American novelists going right now.  A lot of Richmond Fontaine’s lyrics are essentially stories–so I guess you could call the songs ballads–and what I really like about this one is the way it combines a storyline with a more traditional lyrical (ie, not narrative) chorus.  “Polaroid” is from the 2004 album Post to Wire.

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