#967: 2014, Future Islands, Seasons (Waiting on You)

by Charlie_East_West on December 17, 2014

The Guardian has just chosen Future Islands, Seasons (Waiting on You) as the best track of 2014. You can see why. This is a truly wonderful song.

While the song stands out from the crowd in its own right, the success of the song is largely due to a few outstanding live TV performances which went viral early this year – in particular, this performance on Letterman.

Lead singer, Samuel T Herring is now developing a reputation as one of the most exciting frontmen in music. As well as belting a song out, he has developed an off the scale different live music persona which is a combination of a “I don’t give a shit because I am now pissed” Dad dancing at a wedding, Springsteen chest thumping and a middle aged man trying to learn the moonwalk after drinking a bottle of whisky.

The whole act is rather disturbing and odd but also rather refreshing and charismatic. Here is a man who is very comfortable in his own skin, and doesn’t give too much of a shit in displaying it.

So, the song comes with two impressions – 1. A brilliant song about wrestling with anxieties over change. 2. A performer with a weirdly different stage persona.

Welcome to the main arena, Samuel T Herring.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fionauk512 December 17, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I love this guy, I think I saw him on a Jools Holland show. He was almost hypnotic and you are absolutely right he was so lost in his own mesmerising rhythm it was beautiful and weird at the same time.

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Scotslad December 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

Hey, this isn’t exactly the best place to say this, but I couldn’t find a contact for any of you. I love your blog, read it every week, I always find it insightful and measured. I wasn’t such a fan of your Scottish Indy coverage, just because I don’t think it was sufficiently critical of the SNP assertions, but I always admired the points you made. I think it’s always important to reflect back on your vote to see if you would do the same now, particularly with something as important and game changing as the Scottish referendum.

I had a very sobering conversation with a mate about the falling price of oil and what would have happened if Scotland had become Independent this year. We were promised by Salmond and the SNP that the price of oil would remain at $113 per barrel, and that this would float us through to a massive budget surplus, and we’d have low taxes, better living, and more money. Those of us who pointed out that $113 per barrel wasn’t a stable or accurate reflection on the market were accused of scaremongering and being anti-Scottish.

Now that oil has crashed to around $60 per barrel just a few months later, we’d have lost billions of pounds overnight, have a huge budget shortfall, and be forced to rack up a massive deficit, with a much smaller population to pay it off. We’d be locked into an unrecognised sharing of the pound, so Scotland would be unable to devalue its currency or undertake quantative easing to minimise the damage. Prices would soar, wages would crash, and thousands more jobs in the oil sector (1,000 already, 35,000 over the next 5 years), and elsewhere would be lost, and swinging cuts would be made into the public sector, schools and the NHS, that would make the Conservatives and LibDems austerity policy look like a fond memory.
We’d have crippled ourselves coming out the gate as a new country, scaring off investors, and creating a massive recession in Scotland, all because of the assertions of one incredibly ill-informed party, the SNP.

I for one am glad that we remained part of the UK; as oil prices continue to fall, Scotland has lost a lot of money, and yet we won’t feel it, because the safety net of the UK will shore up our economy, and cover the shortfall this creates. This means that instead of dire news and our country going into meltdown, we can smile and talk about how cheap our petrol and heating bills are, and settle in for a Merry Christmas.

There may come a time for Scotland to be independent, but I hope we can all recognise that we narrowly avoided disaster this year, whether you voted Yes or No, and I hope that we can also take away from this that we can’t accept what the SNP say at face value. We have to think as critically about their assertions as we would Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat announcements, and hold them to the same level of account.

Scotland is in a dangerous position democratically because the SNP and Labour are now the only two viable parties for a majority or even minority Government (No support for Tories, LibDems about to collapse, and the Greens whilst they will grow in size will not be the forse that SLab or SNP are). Whilst that works broadly in the UK as despite rightwing press, Labour are important enough to be reported on when they criticise the Tories, and hold them to account. However, Labour are constantly being attacked and their views and policies (rightly) scrutinised.

In Scotland no British paper attacks the SNP because they’re not important enough to give the same levels of scrutiny as the British parties, and no Scottish papers would dare to criticise them even if they had a mind to because the SNP would use bully tactics to ensure that they regretted it (for examples see every press Q&A Sturgeon and Salmond have done, and Salmond excluding journalists critical of Independence from press briefings etc).

It means that the SNP essentially can put out policies unopposed, and SLab are being tarred with the same brush in voters mind as the British Labour Party, meaning that it doesn’t get a boost from being in opposition, and so can’t effectively critique SNP policy, so the SNP end up in the circle of ongoing domination of Scotland. It’s dangerously undemocratic, and means that of course SNP are seeing membership surge; they sound like the only flawless party out there, because nobody actually points out their flaws. It’s a similar situation with UKIP where like the BNP they are experiencing a popularity surge, but unlike them, their policies and views are not being scrutinised fully.

We need the SNP to be held to the same accountability as their British peers, and papers, politicians and blogsters need to start pointing out that had we voted Yes this September, the SNP would have led us into economic disaster.

That’s what Scotland really needs to become a well-informed, affluent and successful country.

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