Welcome to another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files, where we perform an autopsy on a song that was unfairly overlooked by our music-consuming peers.
Artist: Ed Harcourt
Song: “Watching The Sun Come Up”
Album: From Every Sphere, 2003
What happened: British troubadour Harcourt was riding a Mercury Prize nomination, a boatload of adoring press, and breathless comparisons to Rufus Wainwright when his 2001 debut album, Here Be Monsters, came out in the UK. But Monsters‘ hyper-literate songs of longing didn’t quite catch on Stateside, despite the efforts of his label, Capitol. The denser follow-up, From Every Sphere, came out on Astralwerks a year later, and it, too, received a tepid reaction from U.S. listeners.
Why it should have been a hit: “Watching” is an intense, gorgeous track; it starts off with a single piano chord before building into a riotous cacophony–a Moog, a trumpet, and a string section all join the party, while Harcourt’s vocals grow more intense and frenzied. Sure, “Watching” is five minutes long, which probably helped doom its possibility for being radio fodder, but Harcourt’s hyper-instrumentalization makes every second of the song’s length count double.
Ed Harcourt – Watching The Sun Come Up [MP3, link expired]
Ed Harcourt [MySpace]