GE;TS (01.03): Beirut – Postcards from Italy
By Nick Woodside Monday, 13 Apr 2009

“Good-Evil; The Soundtrack” is a weekly feature that showcases an editor’s song pick complete with a small write-up and a YouTube video or streaming version of the song. This week’s selection by Nick is “Beirut – Postcards from Italy”. I’m not going to sugar coat it: 2009 has been pretty much the world’s biggest shitburger so far. My hands have been ridiculously chapped all year, I lost out on Victor Martinez in my main fantasy baseball league (.320, 2HR, 3 RBI and 5R so far) …oh and my Mom died. So naturally I haven’t been listening to Bobby Goodtimes’ Party Polka 12 so much. In the process of helping to plan a funeral, I started to think about what I would want played at my own. In my opinion, there are a few characteristics a good funeral song needs: 1. It can’t suck. This song is going to stick in people’s memories, so choose wisely. You don’t want them humming Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” as they clutch a tear stained photograph of you. Mostly because that song would probably make them start thinking about the last episode of Seinfeld and THAT’S NOT

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KEEPING YOUR MEMORY ALIVE, NOW IS IT!? 2. It can’t be overly depressing. Sure you don’t want Van Halen’s “Panama” (unless of course, you do. It’s your funeral) but you also don’t want some plodding Gothic march either. Personally, I’d like my funeral to be more a celebration of my life rather than a mourning of my death. 3. There’s got to be a part that “brings down the house” so to speak. A line, a passage, or a riff of some sort that’s packed with emotion. Sure, my mourners should be celebrating my life, but goddammit they should really, REALLY miss me too. For me, the song that has all that is Beirut’s “Postcards from Italy”. Sure it’s probably about young love and marrying a girl, but it’s vague enough to apply to just about anything, like my tragic demise. Check out that first verse: The times we had/Oh, when the wind would blow with rain and snow/Were not all bad/We put our feet just where they had, had to go. Oh man, that’s gonna get the waterworks going. The clincher is the part that begins at 2:03 when it drops down to basically trumpet, drums and ukulele, then builds back up to the crescendo at 2:55. If you’re not crying by now, join me in the ground because you have no pulse. I joke about it, but this is seriously one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. I would love for this song to accompany some important moment in my life, whatever that moment may be. Maybe it’s all the emotional trials I’ve been slogging through recently, but this song just hits me perfectly. It makes me want to pour a glass of bourbon and think about what I’ve got in life and what I’ve lost. During those times, I honestly can’t play this song loud enough.

10 Responses to “GE;TS (01.03): Beirut – Postcards from Italy”

  1. Andrew Raub Says:

    I wrote my own obituary for a psych class in college. In it, I said Van Halen would reunite with David Lee Roth and perform at my viewing. “Jump”, especially, but definitely “Panama” as well.

    Note: This was before DLR and Van Halen actually did reunite.

    I have never listened to Beirut. I probably will tonight.

  2. Nick Woodside Says:

    I think somewhere in my head I remembered you saying that, so that’s probably why I brought up “Panama” here. Weird stuff.

    The whole album this song comes from is really good, I just sometimes get too caught up in this song and never listen to the rest. A damn shame really.

  3. Zach Patterson Says:

    this is a really cool song, nick. liking the music video too. has kind of a halcyon days type feel to it, a bit of a happy/bittersweet sound.

  4. Sherv Says:

    I definitely get melancholy from this tune…the vocals are excellent! I’ll have to listen to the lyrics more carefully

  5. Sherv Says:

    I was also gonna write that I didn’t like the horns, but it was my first listen and the end from 3:00 onwards totally won me over…chills.

  6. Zach Patterson Says:

    yeah, honestly, i think the horns really make the song for me.

  7. f.poopsmell Says:

    Not that anyone asked: At my funeral I want a rousing sing-a-long from everyone in attendance. Something simple and memorable. Mr. Big’s “To Be with You” would do nicely. My only regret is that I would not be there to enjoy/participate in that glorious moment.

  8. Sherv Says:

    I don’t think I’ll be very original to my tastes and request that a Hot Snakes song be played.

  9. Nick Woodside Says:

    Horns are a weird thing. They’ve sport of gone out of fashion with rock/indie music that when they’re used it’s sort of like “whoa, the fuck are these things?” One of things I like most about the song (and Beirut in general) is that he plays a ukulele and it isn’t hokey.

    Fun fact: According to the internets, he plays ukulele due to a childhood wrist injury that makes it hard to wrap his fingers around a guitar neck. THE MORE YOU KNOW!

  10. Sherv Says:

    There’s hope for me in music, then! I have no injuries and I can barely hold a chord!

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