Song of the Day, May 25: She’s Leaving by Orchestral Manouevres In the Dark

OMDLeavingToday’s song is She’s Leaving from Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark’s third album, Architecture and Morality. The band’s sonic experimentation continued on this disc as they pushed the boundaries of popular music and electronic soundscapes. Within that framework, however, they continued to craft wonderful songs, and this is a standout.

The song dates back to much earlier sessions, but the band couldn’t find the right sound and abandoned it. When they dusted it off, writers Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys made it slower and stripped down the lyrics. The result is amazing, a simple story told in brief lines over a gorgeous, aching musical backdrop. McCluskey turns in one of his best vocals, making the most of the smallest phrases, investing them with whole implied paragraphs of backstory. When he sings “she washed her hands of this whole affair,” you can hear the resignation, determination, and quiet frustration that led to the final decision.

Fittingly, the somewhat elliptical tale ends with the epigram “the more we learn, the less we know.” That may well be true, but this track proves how deeply we feel even as our experience makes us question our assumptions.

Enjoy this amazing song today.

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