David Usher's cover for Songs From The Last Day On Earth
The end of the world has become a popular theme in music lately since the year is 2012 and all. With the apocalypse coming near, going out with a bang is top priority. David Usher is taking a different approach as he ends his last days on earth on a much more subdued note. His latest record, Songs From The Last Day On Earth isn’t in reference to the apocalypse but is internal as he closes one lifetime and prepares for the next one.
The songs touch on final celebration such as in See The Stars which starts off with “Standing in the fire light/friends are all around/we talk and dance and drink and laugh and scream/this could last forever.” The celebration continues on the album’s closest reminder to his prior rockier days Bitter Pill while everyone else has fallen asleep. “Still we’re going to celebrate/celebrate the things we know for sure/and it’s just too hard to say goodbye tonight/so I keep your body close.” The last day on earth isn’t all celebration however. In Burning Bridges, David sings of a long gone relationship that has moved on as he is left to live it alone while Rice Paper takes joy in doing the enjoyable for one last time before “the unraveling begins.”
The change made reference to on the album is already underway as suggested by its title that the old life has already passed and these songs come from those final moments. While the mood of the songs sometimes feel hopeless impending the inevitable finale, there is a sense of renewal in lyrics like “I’m ready/ready for the morning/I’m ready for the cold hard truth to take me/somewhere cross the water again/and all these simple things.” Life after the last day isn’t necessarily going to be rosy but it is still there.
David has never skipped around the negativity of what he perceived. Many of his albums reference using drugs as an escape or self injury as a return but he’s always flirted with the cynical in a way that almost seemed romantic, often accompanied with music that gave the illusion he was in control of himself and his actions. This record presents a sobering persona of his perspective that something needs to change, albeit is giving him one last hurrah under the agreement that it is the last. Musically, it follows the acoustic approach that his last release had, 2010’s The Mile End Sessions, making this one his most mellow record yet.
Since putting out his first solo album 14 years ago, David Usher has incorporated a lot of different styles into his albums including electronica, ambience, rock and classical. On this one, he stays clear of most of those styles and keeps things relatively simple as he faces the battles that have plagued him. It’s unlike his previous records because of just how surprisingly mellow it remains throughout. Songs From The Last Day On Earth might sound like Little Songs without any sense of adventure but instead is David making acceptance and moving on to the next phase.
1. See The Stars
2. Rice Paper
4. City Of Light
5. Lonely People
8. Bitter Pill
9. Burning Bridges
10. All These Simple Things
11. Partir Ailleurs