by Steven Johnson
Over the last twenty years Canadian singer Patrick Watson has made a name for himself as a writer of keenly felt and sensitively delivered songs. His eight albums to date have all contained episodes to savour and, while he may have sung on higher profile songs along the way, it’s hard not to see Into Giants as arguably his finest moment. A lot of his songs might have a melancholic, introspective feel but Into Giants, taken from his 2012 Adventures In Your Own Backyard album, is in many ways the exact opposite.
Why is it a perfect song?
In short, it has all necessary elements in place and is over-brimming with positive qualities. There’s just so much to love about it.
The heart-warming storyline relayed throughout the song might have been enough on its own but the clever, subtly considered musical arrangements further elevate and enrich its message. Essentially, it tells the story of two people embarking on a journey through life, their relationship evolving and blossoming as they proceed. If you’re worried that sounds a little too saccharine, set any concerns aside – the song generates so much goodwill that you’ll soon find yourself rooting for the contented pair.
It’s not just Watson that sings on Into Giants – he duets with Swedish singer Erika Angell. Together they make sure we’re swept along in the narrative. “Started as lovers, don’t know where it’s gonna end” they repeat over the course over the four minutes. As a refrain it might leave the ending to the story tantalisingly open but there’s no doubting that, right now, things are looking up.
The video directed by Brigitte Henry brings the song even further to life (and is essential viewing in itself). It begins in a way that will be familiar to most these days, with Watson and Angell singing to each other remotely, connected only via the screens of their computers. Soon, they’re united in real life however, dressed up and theatrically tap dancing their way through a colourful set. They sing of how they “grew so tall our heads hit ceilings” and “turned into a crowd of smiles, jumping over all the bad times” and it’s hard not to submit to it in full. There are so many lovely details – from the way Watson wears his hat early on to how they’re showered in confetti towards the end (the allusion to a wedding is apt given the feeling of windswept romance the song portrays). The behind the scenes video provides some nice additional footage (and shows just how much work went into its creation).
There’s much in the way of ornate, decorative instrumentation across the song but when the celebratory trumpets kick in late on it feels especially exultant. Soon after, we’re transported through a door into a venue where a gig is taking place and the pair resume their original positions on stage to deliver their final, moving lines. The central yet understated percussion that runs through the song signs off for one last time. It caps a life affirming and joyous few minutes that never gets old, very much a perfect song.
Perfect Songs is a new occasional series from Arcana. If you have any suggestions for the series, or would like to contribute to it, get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org