Hear This: Shearwater’s “Animal Life” balances the human and animal

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in honor of our Best Films Of The Decade So Far list, we’re talking about songs from some of the best records of the decade so far.

Shearwater, “Animal Life” (2012)

“More accessible” is sometimes used scoffingly—here’s a song so bland and hooky that you don’t even have to think to enjoy it!—but sometimes it’s a key that unlocks a stream of gorgeous melodies and thunderous, muscular chamber pop. Shearwater’s 2012 album, Animal Joy, kicks off with its most accessible song, “Animal Life.” Overlaying the melody—which is more quietly triumphant than catchy, though it is that as well—Jonathan Meiburg proves his reputation for smart lyrics that often form a kind of non-linear narrative of avian allusion and natural wonder.

Shearwater’s earlier work is …

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