It’s funny that you should mention production (both in reference to Blinker the Star and in response to my test post, Patrick Wolf’s Wind the Wires). When we were talking about music on the drive back from the restaurant to Powder Hill, you’d mentioned the order in which you go about ‘experiencing’ or ‘realizing’ things about a song. I’d thought then and I’m recalling now how — once laid out — they seemed completely different (and in some cases the exact opposite) compared to mine. Usually first on the list for me is vocal performance, usually followed closely by lyrics. Production is something that comes by the end of the song if I’m lucky and if I’m not, then I have to wait until the second or third relisten before I get a sense of it. Or maybe that’s a little inaccurate since in the end production is hard to ‘ignore’ per say since it permeates the whole thing. More like, it takes that long for me to be consciously aware of it and then begin to actively process it.
Not really the case with this song. Oddly enough, the words (which usually make or break a song for me) were the last thing I noticed and, even as I give another listen now, they just sort of pass me by. Instead, I’m focused on that landscape of sound you mentioned; it rolls out for the listener like a well-manicured lawn, the production pitch perfect. Even those straining vocals, as he struggles for those high notes, have been smoothly mastered, making for an odd juxtaposition between the quality of the voice and the care with which its been messaged into its surroundings.
For me, it’s that weird dissonance that makes the song work for me. Like you said, it’s a pop song but a pop song with something decidedly off about it. But that offness lacks the heavy handedness which comes with a lot of pop songs, which in turn makes it beguiling rather than annoying. Just enough to twinge the mind and make me double-take where otherwise I might have just said “oh it’s a pop song” and left it at that.