Song of the Day, March 6: An Audience With the Pope by Elbow

elbowseldompopeToday’s song is a bit of whimsy with serious consequences. By the time Elbow recorded their fourth album — the Mercury Prize winning The Seldom Seen Kid — they had refined a distinctive sound drawing on many traditions. A finely tuned unit, the quintet blended all their sounds in a smart variety of ways. Singer Guy Garvey famously observed that guitar rock often neglected dynamic range, whereas Elbow wanted each album to be a journey.

An Audience With the Pope is a wry bit of obsession. Garvey sings of a series of obligations, including the titular meeting and “saving the world at eight.” In each case, however, he’ll drop everything “if she says she needs me.” So powerful is the grip of the woman who keeps him waiting that her summons trumps everything. It’s clever, urgent, and nicely delivered.

Enjoy this fun song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

2 Responses to Song of the Day, March 6: An Audience With the Pope by Elbow

  1. Allyn says:

    I’ve always thought of The Seldom Seen Kid as Elbow’s “falling in love” album, just as Leaders of the Free World is their “break-up” album. If Guy was writing about the aftermath of his break-up with Edith Bowman on Leaders in songs like “The Stops,” “My Very Best,” and “Great Expectations” (and, tangentially, “Pucture Repair”), Seldom is filled with songs about Guy falling in love with Emma Jane Unsworth like “Starlings,” “Mirrorball,” and “One Day Like This,” and “An Audience with the Pope” fits the “falling in love” ethos of Guy’s lyrics at the time.

    • That’s a nice analysis, and works well with many of the tracks on each album. One of the things I admire about Guy’s lyrics is his ability to take personal experience and universalize it without sterilizing it.

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