Partir, Par Terre

I’ve been spending my free moments filling out these exhaustive forms to collect The Dears’ neighbouring rights royalties. Its a bit of an involved process: I have to list every musician that played on every song we’ve ever recorded. We’ve never done song-by-song album credits, but now I see why some bands do it that way. Gang of Losers was easy; I had to get Murray’s help on No Cities Left because there’s a lot going on there; and for End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, I just listened to the tracks to see which ones had strings on them.

I don’t often listen to old Dears recordings. Maybe once a year I’ll listen to our old albums or put them on for Neptune to dance to (Jazz Waltz No. 3 in B-flat is still one of my favourites). But I certainly hadn’t listened to Hollywood for a long time. I realised how much that record was ahead of its time: it smashed the mould that cast most of Canadian indie rock. Listening especially to Partir, Par Terre really made me realise how that was some next level shit.

Listen to Partir, Par Terre from End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story.

In 1999, no one in Canada was doing anything like that: strings over a filmic, jazz-rock instrumental waltz. We did a concert with 12 people on stage and that idea was mind-blowing (now it’s standard). 2000 was the time of either the power trio or sugary, goofy pop: usually a gang of white guys writing guitar-driven arrangements. Everyone was still trying to be like Sloan. Nobody wanted to put our record out: we sent it to every established independent label in Canada and the US and nobody would touch us.

So we trudged through the prepubescent Canadian indie rock wilderness, forged a path, and then quickly got swallowed and overtaken by others with loftier ambitions. I guess we have to take responsibilty at least for that: for being the uncompromizing, difficult and adamant artists that we are. Today, however, I am very grateful for the fans that we have attracted: these are intelligent music listeners. The people we have worked with and met along the way have really been amazing. Things change, seasons change, people change, and nothing in Dears-land ever really stays the same, but I’m proud to say that our identity gets stronger with each year that passes.

An introspective rant that turned into a “The Dears in 2008” rally cry: how appropriate.

5 Replies to “Partir, Par Terre”

  1. Sometimes I like a band’s music and then the second album comes out and it’s ok but it sounds alot like the first one, by the third album I’m usually done.

    The bands I love, the bands I listen to for years and years, the bands whose albums I buy without having heard them are the bands that go ‘what do we want this album to sound like’ bands that evolve and reinvent themselves, bands that do a new album when they have enough material and know what they want to do, rather than just release an album a year regardless and you know it will be good because you trust the musicians.

  2. The song that sold me on The Dears was “Hollywood Bedtime Story”. I was depressed and drinking rye over the collapse of my relationship one very late evening. In my stupor, I turned off my stereo and turned on Much Music. (This was back when they still played music videos.)

    Great. One crap song after the next – until suddenly THAT song came on. There was Murray, walking down the street, guzzling a bottle of ‘miscellaneous’ in the middle of the night. Smash to black, then return to Murray, ‘walking on air’.

    I thought to myself, “Okay. You’ve got my attention now…”

    As the video progressed, I laughed at how creepily parallel it was to how I was feeling at the moment.. the urgency of the song itself.. Wow. Getting goosebumps remembering it…

    Anyway, that was the beginning of my love affair with The Dears. “How will it end?”

  3. Do most artists not listen to their own music? hehe. Sometimes I feel like the only song writer that listens to their own stuff on a regular basis.

    As for eoahbs, in my top 5 albums of all time. no exaduration.

  4. I remember that I saw you guys open for Keane in San Francisco. I was standing front and center wondering who this Dears band was and why they opened the set with a meandering instrumental piece. It was totally different than what I had listened to before, but before the set’s end, I was sold. Hurry up with the new album! I’m ready for some next level shit!

  5. Hi Natalia, I’ve just begun reading your blog, but I’m a longtime fan of The Dears. For whatever reason, I’ve also begun listening to End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story more often lately, and I too was realizing how different it was from everything else put out at its time (Jazz Waltz is one of my favourites too, I listen to it to wake me up in the mornings). Listening to that album actually changed some of the things I appreciate and listen for in music now.

    Thanks for making such great music, and for being difficult and uncompromising enough to ensure that we all get to hear it. I can’t wait to hear the new stuff.

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