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Jun 18

Rogue Wave: “Salesman at the Day of the Parade”

“Hello! What’s that, you say? This taser in my hand? Oh, don’t you worry about that…”

With a title like “Salesman at the Day of the Parade,” I feel like this should be a Sufjan Stevens song. But as you’ve probably noticed, it’s not.

(I really wanted to end this post there, for comic effect, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sorry.)

“Salesman” is, on the one hand, just one of many great songs from Rogue Wave’s 2005 sophomore album, Descended Like Vultures, but its gentle beauty is riveting, commanding your attention following the crescendo of the previous song on the album, “Publish My Love.” It’s a song of regret, most likely for an infidelity committed:

I’m so sorry for what I’ve done
I went into it like a man
Now the only thing on my skin
Is some beach blown images

Despite sitting as it does among so many other excellent songs, it nonetheless leaves a lasting impression when it ends, despite being such a short and quiet song. Sometimes, there’s simply no point in drawing a beautiful melody out any longer than is needed — when a beautiful melody and perfectly sung vocal is all that is needed.

I was recently offered the opportunity to be on the band’s list (free shows are the best blogger perks!) as they swung through Seattle in May for a show celebrating the 10th anniversary of their 2008 release, Asleep at Heaven’s Gate, where they would be playing the entire album live. But as luck would have it, I ended up not feeling well that night and had to cancel. Disappointing, to say the least, as I’ve been a fan of Rogue Wave (they’re from Oakland, CA, in case you were wondering) for a while but have never had the chance to see them live. I’ll be there the next time they come to town, hopefully for a show where they play this album in its entirety. And I strongly encourage you to check them out if they’ve escaped your notice previously, either live or on album. Fans of Death Cab for Cutie or the Shins in particular should find much to like.

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