Oh wow, how original, another song of love gone bad for the song of the day. While this may be some sort of Freudian reflection on my subconscious, I think it is far more likely that the heartache borne of love result in the best songs. “A Stone” is no different, as Will Sheff proudly displays his emotionally drenched vocals, in which each verse can become a howling anthem of pain just through his sheer vocal force. And that emotion is so beautifully expressed through Sheff’s poetic lyricism, which create a wealth of meaning
A Stone represents that “Is She Really Going Out With Him” Joe Jackson guy, that cold, heartless “knave” who doesn’t even begin to emotionally connect with the girl of your dreams. Think in terms of the Office, specifically Roy and Pam’s relationship, where Roy is that stone, a selfish, hard tempered man who Pam inexorably loves, despite the true love that Jim represents, that she just can’t seem to leave a dependable stone for. And while comparing that song to the Office is slight blasphemy, it provides a true parallel of this frustrating truth of cupid’s arrow stinging the wrong people. The line “and if it could start being alive you’d stop living alone” speaks to this point, dehumanizing the stone while pointing out just how empty and emotionless the relationship is.
The lyric “And I think that I know the bitter dismay of a lover who brought fresh brouquets every daywhen she turned him awayto remember some knave who once gave just one rose, one day, years ago” sums up the song best. Because despite all the sense in the world, you are still left out in the cold, starring in from the outside on what it would be like. You are the “flame, hot breath, rough skin, warm laughs and smiling, the lovliest words whispered and meant” that she just likes, not loves.
When Okkervil River graced the 40 Watt’s stage, this song was stripped down of all instrumentation save Sheff and his acoustic guitar, elevating the raw emotion to a make you cry in public type of affair. While Okkervil River may best be known for upbeat jams like “Unless It’s Kicks” and “Our Life is a Movie or Maybe” this ballad showcases Okkervil River at its best, true emotion colliding with beautiful lyricism.