If you’ve never seen a cloud of starlings, stop reading this immediately and google “starling murmuration.” If you have, then you understand the eerie beauty of their seemingly coordinated yet sporadic patterns. A fitting image for the glorious emotional turbulence brought upon by love. Here are a few stanzas:
At the top I’m stopping by
Your place of work and acting like
I haven’t dreamed of you and I
And marriage in an orange grove
You are the only thing
In any room you’re ever in
I’m stubborn, selfish, and too old
I sat you down and told you how
The truest love that’s ever found is for oneself
You pulled apart my theory
With a weary and disinterested sigh
Sit with me a while
And let me listen to you talk about
Your dreams and your obsessions
I’ll be quiet and confessional
The violets explode inside me
When I meet your eyes
Then I’m spinning and I’m diving
Like a cloud of starlings
Darling, is this love?
Not bad, right? Guy Garvey of Elbow seems to have a knack for penning lyrics with a poetic flair, honed during the monotony of rainy days and church goings in his hometown of Bury, England. Out of all Elbow songs though, I find Starlings to boast the most elegant symbiosis between lyrics and music. From the calm choral introduction, broken suddenly by booming horn blasts in the vein of Haydn’s surprise symphony, to the breathtaking climax of weaving strings followed by more bellowing horns, the orchestration is inspired to say the least. With this delicate rendering of yearning and lack of understanding, of chaos and peaceful joy, it is not a surprise that the lyrics are taken from an old poem written by Garvey for his first girlfriend.
Now listen for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below!