#913: ‘Down The Line’ – José González

Sweden’s José González broke onto the music scene in the late ’90s with the band Junip. After some small successes, he entered the minds of the music-loving mainstream thanks to his cover of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats‘. His tender approach to the once harsh track made him legions of new fans, but his follow-up record made these fans absolutely fall in love with him.

In Our Nature, the second album by José González, saw an already accomplished musician take things to a more introspective level, addressing issues of the human condition and taking on more of a fragile approach to music. Personally, I’ve listened to this album close to 100 times throughout my later high school years, and every single time, I discovered something new and refreshing that I hadn’t before.

While I had heard his cover of ‘Heartbeats‘ already, it was the track ‘Down The Line’ that hooked me in. While ‘Heartbeats’ sounded much more delicate and decidedly more folk-like, ‘Down The Line’ sounded like it’s alter ego. Somewhat darker, more isolated, and with a more lo-fi approach, the track addresses, like the rest of the album, the human condition, and one’s tendency to make mistakes.

With lyrics such as “Don’t wash the dirt off of your hands, you’re doing the same mistake twice“, we’re given a strong reminder not to forget our past, lest we be doomed to repeat it. At the same time, the González is also reminding us to be passive in a sense, and to let nature take its course. The song almost feels like a warning at times, but it manages to also serve as an intriguing piece of indie-folk that helps to perfectly capture the gorgeous music that José González is known for.

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