Song of the Week: “Not” by Big Thief

by Douglas Cowie on 30 August 2019

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 “Not” by Big Thief:

My friend José sent me this song last week. I love the way music and lyrics combine to create a building–a slowly building–tension here. The commitment to repetition to the word “not” but not–nor–without variation is total, and the urgency that builds in Adrienne Lenker’s voice until it almost breaks commands your ear. This song builds and builds and feels like it might explode, but–and this is maybe what I like most–it doesn’t explode. Instead, it overflows its edge and tumbles over, never really losing control, but just driving and hanging onto it and riding to the end, never releasing any of us into a chorus.

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