Mope Like Me: The Waltons, “Heels Upon My Head”

Written by Mope Like Me, Music

Pull out the headphones for this one, kids. Otherwise, you laptop toters will hear nothing until the 19-second mark. I wonder if a label would even allow a song like this to be recorded today. Man, what a sad thought that is.

It would not be a stretch to say that the Waltons owe every American fan they have to Barenaked Ladies. The Waltons opened up for BNL in 1995, right as their sophomore album Cock’s Crow hit the shelves. The band’s energetic live show led many a curious BNL fan to check out the record, including yours truly. Unfortunately, much like Barenaked Ladies’ albums, the studio never quite captured the buzz of the Waltons’ live show. The standout songs in their live show, namely “End of the World” and “You Ewe U,” felt like they were holding back a little on tape. On the flip side, the band’s softer moments, like “Heartless,” the Billy Joel-esque “Wascana” and the harmony-laden break of “Surprise,” proved to be some of album’s finer moments.

Nothing, however, comes close to “Heels Upon My Head” which Q magazine accurately described as the best song Neil Finn never wrote. Singer and principal songwriter Jason Plumb pulls back on his tendency to get overly chatty and drops the album’s simplest and most unforgettable melody. Opening with a quiet bass riff, then backed by a brush snare drum beat and some plinks on the piano, the song never rises above a simmer, and it never needs to. I never quite understood the lyrics, but outside of the line “I’ve come undone, it’s easy to see,” I didn’t feel like I needed to. That line says it all, really.