The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

The Shins released Wincing the Night Away in January of 2007, my junior year of high school. To say this was an impressionable time period on my music taste would be an understatement, pretty much everything I would come to appreciate in music stemmed from what I listened to in ’07/08’. Garden State had introduced me to the Shins in 2004, like many other angsty teenagers, and I had put more plays on Chutes Too Narrow than any other record at that point in my life. I purchased Wincing the Night Away on day 1, and while my favorite Shins album still belongs to Chutes, I still have such a powerful connection to this one. It transports me to a time and place of my life with more strength than perhaps any other piece of music, and will forever be on my short list of winter listens.

Right after my first listen, I was hooked to “Australia” and “Phantom Limb” like everyone else. They were the closest to the almost live-sounding style they had developed on Chutes, and I was eager for more upbeat music to take me out of the cold, miserable winter. Cruising around in my Volkswagen Beetle through flurries and sleet, sipping coffee and blasting this album became something me and my friends would do on a regular basis, with no destination or real purpose in mind. After awhile the upbeat tracks started to get a little same-y and we started to pay more attention to the more unique songs on the record. “Red Rabbits” and “A Comet Appears” soared to the top of my most played, slow melodic pacing complimented by beautiful instrumentation and James Mercer’s ridiculous voice. Still two of my favorite Shins songs that put me right back into the Beetle on a cool winter morning.

I don’t think The Shins are for everyone. When I tell people how much I like them I usually get eye rolls and Garden State quotes. The song writing isn’t particularly impactful and on first listen nowadays they probably sound like generic indie rock. Their first three albums are in a distinct category of music for me, however, they are able to take me to a moment in my life for better or worse. For any type of music to be capable of that, it has to be a little special. I’ll be listening to it as we hike through the Himalayas when this post goes up, forever attaching it to a new incredible moment in my life. I can’t wait.

Track List

1."Sleeping Lessons" - 3:58

2."Australia" - 3:56

3."Pam Berry" - 0:56

4."Phantom Limb" - 4:47

5."Sea Legs" - 5:22

6."Red Rabbits"- 4:29

7."Turn on Me" - 3:41

8."Black Wave" - 3:19

9."Spilt Needles" - 3:45

10."Girl Sailor" - 3:44

11."A Comet Appears" - 3:49