In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: Now that we’re a few weeks into our new year’s resolutions, we’re featuring songs about giving up.
Cloud Mouth, “Quiet” (2011)
Giving up is often synonymous with cowardice. However, bringing an end to something often requires real bravery, whether it be kicking a vice or leaving behind a situation that was weighing you down. And, while it’s always nice for these moments to come thanks to some sort of striking revelation—the kind that force one’s hand into immediate action—they come, more often than not, after a long gestational period.
It’s hard to nail down what exactly Cloud Mouth drummer Zach Weinberg is singing about on “Quiet”—the closing track to the band’s Keep Well EP—but it’s clear whatever he’s anxious about has been simmering for far too long. Opening with a haunting guitar line and Weinberg’s repeated phrase of, “I’ve been quiet until now,” the song builds to its explosion—both musically and lyrically. When it hits, with the trio bashing away in a flurry of chaotic post-hardcore that best recalls Canada’s under-loved Shotmaker, Cloud Mouth releases all of this pent-up tension by way of a cathartic climax.
As Weinberg states near the song’s apex, ”I’m a liar / And I’m tired / Of playing both sides,” and that “I’ll be stopping now,” these vague lines become applicable to anyone starting a new chapter. It’s a call to leave that stifling fear behind and embrace honesty, in whatever form that may take. It’s a message that’s affecting in its simplicity, and a reminder that bringing an end to an unhealthy behavior—or a toxic personal connection—can make giving up look a whole lot like growing up.