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I’m still not sure if I’m over everything that City and Colour’s Dallas Green put us through with his debut, Sometimes (I Wish). It is the articulation for everyone who has lost something too great, to have the ability to speak just yet. Ever since, Green has been giving us so much sorrow to sulk, with some tender positivity inbetween. One of the strongest reoccurring perspectives Green has given along the way is his life of a traveler, but it comes most relevant in The Hurry and the Harm as he sifts through the directions of where to go when everything is gone.
The title track that opened the album could not have laid out the entire purpose of City and Colour more clearly. I always feel as though Green is trying to slow us down to breakdown the things we think we know about ourselves. Although a literal and dark way in which to see it, Green puts us in a different mindset questioning, “Why are we so worried about the hurry and less about the harm? Always trying to conquer that which does not offer anything more than a broken heart.” Opening with such view shakes things up a little for the rest of the album. When he sings, “We’re longing to live in a dream, but we can’t let go to all that we think we know,” it’s hard not to feel a little angry, confused as to what or who should be to blame for the feeling. I’m pretty sure that this desperation is exactly what Green was trying to express. What do you do when nothing makes sense?
One thing that I have found charming about City and Colour from the beginning is the fact that the lyrics are the driving force in it all. Instrumentals are always put matched to drive the lyrics the ultimate mood, but they are not the first thought in the creation of the song. It’s refreshing, in this case, to hear Green develop his craft in writing without gimmicks, but with 2011’s Little Hell, I started to found myself going back to songs not only for the thoughtful lyrics, but also for the impassioned guitar parts. “Thirst”, the album’s first single, struck me with–dare I say–funky instrumentals to piece together a catch that I feel good about. The instrumentals do not take away from the lyrics in any sense, but rather make for an exciting change in the progression of City and Colour.
The Hurry and the Harm holds a lot of metaphors and big concepts to pinpoint the smaller idea. Green tended to be a little more literal in previous releases, but it is the “darkness” within “Ladies And Gentlemen” and “the lamb” that he’s been sitting on in “ The Lonely Life” that makes this album something to be taken in with different strides. At times everything is not just said, it’s implied and meant to be broken down a bit. The song that defines the approach is “Of Space And Time”. As Green tries to find a direction home, he’s “roaming through the hills” and he is sure to “follow the first light home.” Throughout the song, he describes himself as an “elephant”who “stands in plain view.” So much of the album is written on the base of Green trying to describe himself as something that cannot be defined in one place or manner, and these metaphors appropriately have us looking everywhere in search of where he will find comfort.