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Mount Eerie’s “Seaweed” Is A Heartbreaking Reflection on Love, Death, and Nature

Mount Eerie (aka Phil Elverum) released his exquisite 11-song LP A Crow Looked At Me on March 24, 2017– to much critical fanfare and acclaim from the indie circuit.

While many of the album’s singles have since gained momentum for their incisive, heartbreaking reflection on death, “Seaweed” stands apart for its crushing invocation of nature as a place of solace and refuge– a place to see purpose in the midst of loss and relief from the strain of sadness. Eleverum, who recently lost his wife and the mother of his child to cancer, writes from a place of heartbreaking earnestness as he traces a narrative that is limned with specific attention to nature and its associated motifs of death and renewal.

“Seaweed” stands apart for its crushing invocation of nature as a place of solace and refuge– a place to see purpose in the midst of loss…

“You’ve been dead for one month and three days/ And we are sleeping in the forest,” he writes on “Ravens”. “Surrounded by growth/ Nurse logs with layers of moss and life… Nothing dies here.”

Later, on “Forest Fires”, he continues: “In the hazy light of forest fire smoke / I looked across at the refineries / And thought that the world was actually constantly ending… I missed you, of course / And I remember thinking the last time it rained here you were alive still.”

The heartbreak continues throughout the album, but reaches a sort of peaceable crescendo on “Seaweed”, in which flowers and a beautiful sunset take on a muted hope, one that gives listeners faith that Elverum has found his solace. As Mike Powell writes in his Pitchfork review of the work, “For an album so firmly anchored by death, Crow is suffused with life”– and therein lies the hope.

“What about foxgloves
Is that a flower you liked?
I can’t remember
You did most of my remembering for me
And now I stand untethered
In a field full of wild foxgloves
Wondering if you’re there
Or if a flower means anything
And what could anything mean
In this crushing absurdity
I brought a chair from home
I’m leaving it on the hill
Facing west and north
And I poured out your ashes on it
I guess so you can watch the sunset
But the truth is I don’t think of that dust as you…

You are the sunset.”

Listen to the full song, below.

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A Crow Looked At Me is out now on P. W. Elverum & Sun.

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