For me, lyrics are the single-most important means by which I define my musical experience. Lyrics provide a tangible aspect to music, something we can mouth or recite in the back of our minds, and, if you’re like me, they’re essential to the way we shape our understanding of songs.
We’ve all had the experience when, listening to a certain song for that first time, a witty two-liner or profound verse slaps you so hard across the face that you have to write it down. Over the years, the backs of English notebooks, scratched-up high school desks and faded ink on the back of my hand have all been a tribute to the capabilities of effective songwriting.
So how do I explain my attachment to an eight-minute song that lacks any lyrics and relies solely on the instrumentation of two guitars, a bass and some drums?
Since their first release in 2001, Explosions In The Sky have dedicated themselves to the art of post-rock, letting their simple instrumental set-up do the talking. While I’ll be quick to assure you that I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, there is something about the band’s “Your Hand in Mine” that hits me just as hard as any spoken word.
There’s nothing explicit about the song, but the emotional content is still there, wrapped up in the intricacies of chord progressions and dramatic percussion. There’s the loneliness of the lead guitar’s echoing first notes, the anticipation and power when the drums first come in at 1:13 and the high-pitched cathartic release at 6:05.
It’s instrumental mastery at its finest and it’s so beautiful it leaves me speechless every time. And that’s the way it should be.
Explosions In The Sky- Your Hand In Mine (download)