A Wonderful Song: Twilight

“Twilight” is the last song off of Twilight, the debut record from Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers (Yeah, he likes the word “twilight”). It caps off a long record about love, loss, and all matters of lust and death between, and it does so perfectly.

Beginning with a touch of organ, a drum machine comes in, all kick and cymbals before a rim shot brings the vocals in. The vocals are practically whispered by Dulli, Harold Chichester, and Shawn Smith. They lilt over one another like currents swirling through dead trees.

“When darkness falls on Summer’s end…”

This isn’t going to be a happy song. As the verse continues, the haunting notes of saxophones fill the background. Shawn plays with the horns vocally, a single “Aahhh” that curls through the verse as Greg takes control.

And then the chorus.

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”

A glimmer of hope with a beautiful melody. A spot of light in near impenetrable darkness.

The second verse.

“The longest night of every year I spent beside you.”

Harold takes over, with Shawn just underneath him. Their other vocal tracks rise and fall behind them. The drums are louder. Greg takes over for another chorus, one that continues as the song turns and churns around it. Shawn breaks off on his own, then Harold sings a single line…

“The way it was intended.”

Everything cuts save the organ. A moment’s pause, and then we’re back, practically pounding to be let out. Greg’s vocals throughout the final verse are desperate, Harold and Shawn pushing him from beneath. Harold sings the last line before the final chorus.

“And love lives not, and hope is gone.”

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”

More horns, shivers of guitar. The drums push.

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Their voices grow sad. Greg sings from underneath…

“And if my love, I said I’m sorry
Would you believe me? Should I cry?
And hold me…”

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”

Fade to voices, a last tremor of organ, and out.

There aren’t many songs that are this powerful to me. “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” “Everything Evil,” “Turn Around, Look at Me,” maybe “Dollskin.” There just aren’t that many, but “Twilight” does it to me everytime.

I’m thinking about this song for a reason, something that goes in a story. It’s a story I’ve talked about here before, and it’s a story I’m beginning to realize I was born to write. I have chills, and I have tears in my eyes and electricity in my brain. I could freeze you with a touch or burn you with a kiss, and you’d love me just the same.

Somewhere, there’s a guy who goes by the name of Jellybean. Everybody loves him. He’s the happiest guy you’ve ever met, but at night he goes home alone and sits in a corner of his darkened room, hugs his knees to his chest, squeezes his eyes shut, rocks back and forth and tells himself…

“Everything’s gonna be all right.”