Lately I’ve been trying to find something new to listen to and, as is occasionally the case, something new is something I remember from years ago. 

Going through old iTunes files is one of my favorite ways to restock my iPod. Oftentimes I forget how much I enjoyed an album that I set aside because I had either a) overplayed it, b) underplayed it, c)overassociated it, d) taken an interest in a new genre. The self-titled Augustana record was a repeated listen of mine when I lived in the Finger Lakes, driving across hills and wondering, and then I completely forgot it existed. I’m fairly certain I’m the only person I know who actually enjoyed this record, but I found it extremely palatable, listenable and emotive, a perfect balance of hopeful and world-weary.

A pop rock band with a couple choice hits a decade or so ago, Augustana sort of faded into this weird space of jam band, country-tinged opener as more trendy hipster sounds took hold. Their sound, one could argue, felt a little tired and bored as new bands were coming out with tracks full of much heavier, deeper influences. Their structure is rather conventional, their lyrics are cliche-ridden and just a little stiff. Probably why I forgot about them. But I do remember playing this record, picking up the little details and layering in their songs, learning them. I love the subtle key accompaniments and tasteful chord changes – it’s a weathered sound, but that was so suitable for me, at a time of great reflection. A few years down the road, looking for new albums to occupy my mind and time and stumbling across this one, this song came flooding back as one of my favorites. I didn’t know it then, but it’s held up real nice over the years, a beautiful little testament to love gone unfulfilled that’s waiting just around the corner.

“You need a reason for the things I do
I need a miracle to see me through
I give you everything I got inside
If you just stay here tonight

My hands are tied and I’ve been rolling the dice
My legs are broken, I ain’t up for a fight
I’ll make it rain from an empty sky
If you just stay here tonight

You’ll be the last one picking up the pieces
You’ll be the last one standing up strong
You’ll be the last one making all the right things wrong

You need a lover in a first degree
I need a woman who believes in me
I’ll shine the way through the darkest night
If you just stay here tonight

My heart is aching and I’m down on a bend
My will is weak and I’m falling again
I get back up and try to make things right
If you just stay here tonight

You’ll be the last one picking up the pieces
You’ll be the last one standing up strong
You’ll be the last one making all the right things wrong
 
As the days go by…

And you know
We’ll be the last ones picking up the pieces
We’ll be the last ones standing up strong
We’ll be the last ones making all the right things wrong”
~Just Stay Here Tonight

Augustana, Augustana