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Lungfish makes the inevitable feel welcome on “Way-Out Is The Way Out”

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In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: In honor of Leap Day, we pick our favorite songs about time.

Lungfish, “Way-Out Is The Way Out” (2005)

It’s appropriate how Lungfish is the kind of band to inspire religious, borderline cultish, devotion in people. The Baltimore band grew out of the ’80s hardcore movement, and over the next decade it would slowly transform into the genre’s shamanistic center. By the 2000s Lungfish had sapped any traditional songwriting tropes from its repertoire, opting instead to focus on minimalistic songs and the spiritual ramblings of vocalist Daniel Higgs. By the release of 2005’s Feral Hymns, Higgs had sharpened his focus to the point where any one of his songs could pass for a Buddhist meditation on existence.


While there’s a wealth of Lungfish songs that could qualify for this prompt, the one that is most resonant is “Way-Out Is The Way Out.” Opening with, “To have you / I must lose you,” Higgs only goes deeper down the well of philosophical pondering from there. His lyrics get obtuse here and there, but the message remains as clear as day: All you love will eventually be lost. It’s a heady take on a concept that’s fundamentally simple, as he acknowledges the passage of time without bemoaning the loss of it. It’s a sobering realization, but Lungfish finds ways to make this harsh reality not just digestible but totally welcome.

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