Article by Bre Cura and Emily Herbein // Graphics by Bre Cura
An unexplainable mix of indie, alt rock and neo-mellow folk, the illusive group Pine Barons just released a single after some downtime, and it’s the first look at a new era of the band’s sound. “Colette” explores the lighter side of their discography, but still fully encompasses the covert lyricism and broad, artistic thematic ideas. We broke down the single piece by piece, followed by some insight from lead singer Keith Abrams, as he let us in on what inspired this anthemic track.
You built a house out of sand, It fell apart through your hands. // Soft spoken eyes, so token wise. // You’re taking off while you land, Someone must have said that you can’t. // Lost, open eyes – cracked open wide.
Em: “I feel like these phrasings are so open-ended that it’s important to keep the sound of the song in mind. It’s pretty upbeat in the instrumentation with these moments of deep and filtered vocals. So there’s obviously a feeling of parallel between music and lyrics. That’s the thing about Pine Barons’ songs – tracks like “Chamber Choir” are so overtly obscure that the lyrics could be about anything. You take from it what you can. But I think this verse is about the fragility of life (?) and how easily things come and go. Or maybe how easy it is to get ahead of yourself and break something before it’s even fully finished. Even the analysis is obscure.“
Bre: “I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a hundred more times- for me, a song is truly amazing when it can parallel in such a way. Having sad lyrics/happy sound or vice versa is one of my favorite marks of artistry. This song is hard to analyze because as you said, it’s very open ended. I think it does touch on the fragility of life and its structures. You can kind of put your all into something with poor foundations, your mind in too many places at once, just to prove a point to someone else or even yourself.”
Magnificent, it comes. Magnificent, it goes, Magnifique catacombes. // Magnificent Colette. Less than invincible.
Em: “I love the word play between “magnificent, it goes/magnifique catacombes.” So cool. I think this means that the inevitable change of things, whether good or bad, is always profound and always leaves something new to be considered. The “less than invincible” line makes me think it’s a reference to what it means to be human. No one is immune to anything.”
Bre: “Yeah, I would have to agree. I like the “less than invincible” line as well. So far I feel like this whole song is referencing the rise and inevitable fall of an individual due to human-designed expectations.“
Made it out of the maze, Winded up back in a cage, // Mousey can’t take anymore, And God is aching, for sure. // Soft spoken lies – cracked open wide.
Em: “I think this could represent the cyclical nature of life. Out of a maze → into a cage, and so on. I want to give this song really huge ideas but I also feel like the message could be deceptively simple.“
Bre: “A problem we often run into haha. I would much rather get too much out of a song, than nothing at all. So if anything, I’m glad these words have prompted some big ideas. I think this too might be getting at trying so hard to get somewhere, to be someone, to make something worthwhile, and still just losing yourself along the way. Satisfaction isn’t universal, and so to try and appease everyone (including yourself), is just not plausible. You’re going to break and crumble, and slip right through your own hands.”
Keith let us know if we had understood the mysteries of Colette:
Keith: “Bre and Em, your analysis is so spot on that I don’t know what else to say.. the fragility of life. It made me really happy to read, and I think there’s something else I just realized while imagining this song as like a fable or a fairytale with some moral lesson attached. The song was originally called “Colette the Invincible” and Em you mentioned what it means to be human, so the song itself is the embodiment of Colette(me)(you) with this scope of emotions, fears, and anxieties and in coming to the realization that- everything, you, this is only here until it’s not here and that’s the magnificence – coming and going, rising and falling. The filtered voice in the verses I always thought of as a sort of Oz character, that could be a voice in her head. Anyway, Colette isn’t afraid of pain or failure anymore and accepts that everything is temporary or in constant motion. I’ve been obsessed with a documentary lately about Andy Goldsworthy called “River and Tides” and there’s a segment where he’s building this spiral-like dome structure out of branches and sticks on the shore before the tide would come in and carry it away. He says that nature will do things to his art that he himself could never recreate and I thought that was really awesome.“