Monday, April 23, 2012

Temptation of Adam

Just over a year ago I made a post titled "The Temptation of Adam." At the time I said that Josh Ritter "...may possibly be the best songwriter alive today."  Well, a year has passed and my opinions are about the same.  His lyrics still outshine nearly everything else I listen to.

"The Temptation of Adam" is a love song between two people who are squirreled away in the subterranean levels of a missile silo.  The man is tempted to launch the missiles and start World War III just so he can stay below ground with his partner and so that their love could last.  As he tells Marie, "There's something tells me things just won't work out above/ That our love would live a half-life on the surface."  It's really no wonder that the man is tempted so.

It's hard for me to pick a favorite line, as there are so many wonderful ones from this haunting song.  I particularly love the words from the third stanza,
We passed the time with crosswords that she thought to bring inside
'What five letters spell apocalypse?' she asked me.
I won her over saying W-W-I-I-I
Oh we smiled and we both knew that she'd misjudged me.
I can just see them there, that wicked grin on their face after what he'd said.  I imagine all of the long hours the two spend together, first getting to know one another, then onto flirting and romance, with doubt on the heels.  It's tragedy.  It's romance.  It's an excellent example of how brilliant Josh Ritter is.
We could hold each other close and stay up every night
Looking up into the dark like it's the night sky
And pretend this giant missile is an old oak tree instead
And carve our name in hearts into the warhead
"The Temptation of Adam" is played on a down-tuned guitar (one full step for you savvy ones out there) with some 50's era sounding horns and strings in the background.  The video below is actually an acoustic version, but the startling black & white video is perfect for the tone of the song.

Josh Ritter is one of my favorite artists out right now, and a large part of that is due to the wonder he produces with every song.  A natural balladeer, his stories hit a part of me that not many others can do.  I hope you give "The Temptation of Adam" a shot and see if you like it.  If so, definitely check out the rest of the guy's catalog.  You won't regret it.


Julie Daines said...

Amazing song! How have I never heard of this guy? Great guitar playing and amazing words. Thanks!

nutschell said...

i've never heard this song before but I'm glad you shared it with us:) i love it@
Happy A-Zing!

logankstewart said...

@All: Thanks for listening, and glad you both liked it. Always a pleasure to share good music.

David Wagner said...

Good stuff. Gonna have to nose around YouTube and find more of his stuff. Thanks for the recommendation.

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention it in your article, so I'm not sure if you picked up on the larger context/metaphor of the song. This is a parallel story to the Biblical account of Adam in the Old Testament. Like the Adam in the silo, Adam in the garden had a decision to make between the good of mankind, and his own happiness with the woman he loved. Adam in the Silo could only stay with the woman he loved if he started WWIII, while Adam in the garden could only stay with Eve if he ate the apple, and brought sin into the world. When understood in this context, there are too many metaphors to list. Josh is the best storyteller I've ever encountered.