Sunday, September 8, 2019

Certain Songs #1624: The Posies – “Conversations” | Medialoper

Album: Every Kind of Light
Year: 2005

. . .

But, of course, The Posies didn’t break up in 1998. At least not for good. There was just too much chemistry in the Ken Stringfellow / Jon Auer paring for them to ignore it for the rest of their lives. And while Ken Stringfellow toured with R.E.M. for several years, as well as played on both Reveal and Around the Sun while putting out a couple of solo albums as well, it was clear that the Posies weren’t truly finished.

In fact, they almost instantly they put out a live album culled from the last tour, Alive Before The Iceberg, and in 2000 Stringfellow and Auer reunited acoustically, as captured on the In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Plugging In live album in 2000 and the studio EP Nice Cheekbones an a PHD in 2001.

Also in 2000, Geffen put out the utterly stellar Dream All Day best-of — the one Posies album, etc — which has every song I’ve written about except “Grant Hart” — for the dabblers, while the band themselves released the massive At Least, At Last box set for the crazies like me.

And finally, in 2005, a true proper Posies album: Every Kind of Light, signaling the inevitable — Stringfellow and Auer were pretty much doomed to continue to record together for the foreseeable future. And so every few years, a new Posies album appears: 2010 brought us Blood/Candy and 2016 brought the slightly experimental Solid States.

Every single one of these records has some great songs: “March Climes” from Solid States; “So Caroline” and “She’s Coming Down Again” from Blood/Candy and “Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive” from Every Kind of Light. But the utter killer from the Posies post-millennial period is “Conversations,” the highlight of Every Kind of Light, and as good of a song that Jon Auer has ever produced.

It could also be a commentary on their situation, starting off with just their guitars intertwined and Auer singing.

On the way back from yesterday, give yourself a break
And say hello to the now you know
Now you know (let it go) today
There’s no prison left inside to guard you through

While Ken Stringfellow quietly joins in and counterpoints throughout the verse, it’s Auer who heads to a falsetto at the end as the bass, drums and fuzzy guitars rumble in for the epic chorus.

Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on
I can tell you’re the one that I’d bet our lives upon

It’s a chorus that’s been ringing in my head since I first heard it, and — like so many of best songs of the Posies — has only got better over time, so that anytime “Conversations” came up in the mix over that time, I’ve always turned it up just to sing along with “coversations on and on” on and on and on, even before I realized it was perhaps the most meta song in their entire catalog.

Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on
Is it clear?
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me just as well?
Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on
Conversations on and on

I mean, c’mon! Sure, it could be written to a romantic partner, but when later in the song, they trade off crazily hooky guitar solos, it just thematically hammers home that they’ve been having every kind of conversation since the mid-1980s, and they’ll continue to do so on and on and on and on and on. Or at least I hope so. I’ll always be eager to listen to what they’re talking about.


“Conversations” video (shitty sound and picture)

“Coversations” live acoustic 2006

“Conversations” live Finland, 2010


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