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04 January 2012 @ 09:41 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #139: honeyhoney "Don't Know How"  
honeyhoney "Don't Know How"

Much like last week's pick from Kate Bush, there are some songs that stand out on the first listen of an album. This song was like a beacon, shining brightly over the rest of a very good album. There was something really special about this one that made it stand out head and shoulders above the rest of the album. When the disc ended I repeated this track a couple of times because I couldn't get enough. I made a mental note that this could be a song of the week contender, but it would need to win me over again. The next time listening to the disc I made it a point to make sure I didn't know when it was coming up to see if it would grab me again. After the first couple lines I thought, 'Either this is another great track that I didn't get into last time, or this is the one!" It was indeed the one.

honeyhoney is a duo comprised of Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe who, if you were categorizing them, would reside in the singer-songwriter country-rock realm. Their Billy Jack record, released late last year on Lost Highway Records, was one I didn't get a chance to spin in 2011. They aren't a favorite of mine, but I thought their debut and EP out a couple years ago were decent so I made it a point to make sure I spun this sooner rather than later. Now with only a few listens under my belt I'm wondering if it would have made my Musical Picks of 2011 list, definitely at least an Honorable Mention.

In grabbing a you tube link for this post I knew I'd be presented with some live performance videos and I was concerned about checking any out. I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks this way, but there are some songs that sound so good that you almost don't want to hear the live version because you're afraid if it doesn't stand up that your impression of the studio version will somehow change. It's happened to me before, so I'm sometimes reluctant as I was with this song. When I clicked to watch this performance it was with great trepidation.
But I was mesmerized.

I sold all my clothes to get rid of your smell
I smashed all the clocks that had the right time to tell me
How long it has been since we parted ways
Don't know how to leave you when I want to stay

When the chorus harmonies rolled around with the violin crying hauntingly underneath I was hooked:

So, go, go, go, go on without me now
Lose me in the crowd
Oh I am slow, slow, slow, slow moving like the south
The words stuck in my mouth

The initial listen had nothing to do with lyrics, it was all about the rise and fall of that gorgeous melody and the way Suzanne and Ben's voices brought it to life.

Oh no, I lost track of the time that you gave
I squandered the hours that I should have stayed
There's no turning back from my grave in the ground
Don't know how to love you when I'm not around
But I'll learn how to love you when I'm not around

Obviously this isn't the most cheerfully uplifting song, but it's so brilliant both vocally and with the sparse but evocative guitar and violin. Magical.

More honeyhoney:
Another great live performance of "Don't Know How"
KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic live performance & interview
Turn that Finger Around
Thin Line