A.V. Club Most Read

News Newswire Great Job, Internet!
TV Club All Reviews What's On Tonight
Video All Video A.V. Undercover A.V. Cocktail Club Film Club
Reviews All Reviews Film TV Music Books
Features All Features Newswire Great Job, Internet!
Sections Film Tv Music Food Comedy Books Games Aux
Our Company About Us Contact Advertise Privacy Policy Careers RSS
Onion Inc. Sites The Onion The A.V. Club ClickHole Onion Studios

A soulful SOHN learns spooky “Lessons”

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.

My favorite song of 2014 (so far, anyway) made its initial waves in September of last year: SOHN’s “Lessons” was released as a single by the influential 4AD label, and made the Internet rounds then. But with the release of SOHN’s mostly excellent full-length debut, Tremors, I found myself listening to the song over and over again, on a sunny but slightly bumpy flight from New York to Chicago. It’s sort of the perfect song for that situation, in that it’s gorgeous but also a little bit tense. The song’s bed is a repetitive bass note that occasionally threatens to overload, a retro-futuristic melody line, and the reedy but soulful voice of SOHN himself, a.k.a. British songwriter Christopher Taylor. It’s a song about regret, of “lessons learned” and “bridges burned” with regard to an old relationship, and as the sweet-sounding voice gets more intense, that melody line goes from plucky to a little scary. That provides some almost invisible movement to a song that otherwise doesn’t seem to have an arc, exactly: It moves so slowly through its moods—the storm rises almost imperceptibly—that it’s unsettling. The moody video, which features an injury, running, and some very intense tooth-brushing, adds to the mysterious charm.