Throwback Thursday: “Tower of Sand” & “Sugar”

Chris Merritt

Taking it back all the way to 2007 and 2010, respectively, today’s Throwback Thursday post is double the fun. From a somewhat recent discovery of mine, indie singer-songwriter Chris Merritt, here’s not one, but two of his songs, “Tower of Sand” and “Sugar.”

I first came across Chris Merritt while on my mission, of all places. He contributed a stellar, unique version of “How Great Thou Art” to the 2009 compilation “Nearer: A New Collection of Favorite Hymns,” and I listened to and loved it throughout the 2 years I served. At least once since I returned home from Peru, I searched him out on iTunes, but didn’t dive into his music too much. Yesterday, for some reason I thought of him again and took a listen on Spotify to his most popular songs. “Tower of Sand” was at the top of the list…and there you go. I was finally hooked. (It’s from his 2007 debut album, “Hello, Little Captain.”) By default, I’m a sucker for these bouncy, swingy (such technical terms, I know) kind of piano-driven songs, but on top of that, the songwriting here is just spot-on.  The wordplay and metaphors are terrific, and it brings something new each listen. (It took me a bit to realize it was a breakup song. Props to Chris for leaving the song’s meaning as a bit of a mystery at first.) Here’s an example of just how cool and well-written the lyrics are:

“Give it away,” I told her. “‘Cause I don’t want that.

It’s only you on my mind and where you go,

I go where you go, I go where you go, I’ll be there.”

OK, so maybe they don’t look like much on paper, but just listen to how he places them in the melody…it just rolls off his tongue right into your ears. #songwritingnerdmoment

“Sugar” was actually the 5th song on the list of Chris’ most-played tunes. It’s off one of his more recent albums, “Virginia Is For Hoverers (Part II).” At first, I went, “OK, this is pretty good.” Today, I’ve had it on constant rotation (and I mean constant). It just keeps getting better and better. I can’t let it go, really. Once again, Chris’ songwriting is brilliantly engaging. The production also really stands out here as well. I particularly love the gorgeous multi-track harmonies (if my ear doesn’t deceive me, Chris provides them all). The way they cascade in the second chorus is a great touch. And gosh, the bridge? It’s absolutely beautiful, and on top of that, it rips your heart right out and throws it on the table, the way it builds and the way that Chris just sells those lines. He has brilliantly captured that storm of emotions you get right after a love is over, and seriously, I just can’t get enough of the whole thing.

I have a long way to go before I listen to the rest of Chris’ catalog (he’s also planning on releasing new music soon), but from what I’ve heard so far, he’s a real gem. Be sure to check him out on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, what have you, because you will seriously not regret it. (I know I’m regretting not discovering his music until now.)

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