Album: I Often Dream of Trains
. . .
“Autumn Is Your Last Chance” just might be my favorite Robyn Hitchcock song.
One of the things I love about Robyn Hitchcock is that he’s written some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard: things like “Airscape,” “Madonna of The Wasps,” “I Am Not Me” and “Raymond and The Wires” are just lovely. That said, I’m going to have to go with “Autumn is Your Last Chance” as The Prettiest Song Ever Recorded, Robyn Hitchcock Division.
“Autumn Is Your Last Chance” starts off with a pretty typical Robyn Hitchock guitar lick, notes corkscrewing around each other in reassuring ways, but it’s also wispy, like you’re hearing it from a far-off place. There’s a ghostly bass floating around as well, and is vocals are quiet and sad — one might even call them autumnal — as he describes the fallout from a relationship that’s ending.
I walk through the heather
Underneath the sky
The leaves have never looked as good
As now they’re going to die
But I know why
It’s incredibly sad-sounding, like he’s wandering around, lost in . And without even taking a pause, he continues.
I smile in the heather
Where we used to stroll
The dew on the cobwebs
Shines like gold
But I don’t care
If it shines all year
It’s at this point where “Autumn Is Your Last Chance” starts changing: the guitar lick switches up on itself, and the bass stops floating and starts building, and Robyn’s voice breaks out of the fog and into the twilight.
‘Cause you’re not there and
I don’t care and
You’re not therrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeee
That’s the last lyric he sings, as the guitar starts winding around itself a bit and then as if rising from a foggy lake, a whole chorus of overdubbed Robyn Hitchcocks are singing “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” and the guitar suddenly finds the most incredible lick to play over and over — weirdly enough, a distant cousin to the riff that powers The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Something’s Wrong” — and oh my god, this is exactly what melancholy sounds like. And it is the most beautiful thing in the universe.
I’ve listened to “Autumn is Your Last Chance” countless times over the decades, and that coda has never not once not totally and utterly floored me.
“Autumn is Your Last Chance”
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