There’s this one song on the Trouble with Poets that’s called “Check Me Out (hey hey hey).” Depsite the impression you might get from the title, it’s one of the most verbose songs that Peter Mulvey has ever written. Aside from the obvious guitar pyrotechnics, he is definitely one of the most literary songwriters i know of. There are not only his detailed narratives, but his witty side references that take you months to pick up on but add layers of personal depth to his songs.
I’ve seen Peter perform quite a few times within the last year, and on many of those occasions he performed and spoke about “Check Me Out.” As it turns out, the song is written from the perspective of a girl who can fly. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what he was talking about the first time he mentioned that fact, but then he sang the song and it all made sense. “Check Me Out” conveys the excitement of staying up later than everyone else so that you can sneak out and fly without ever actually mentioning “flight.” The idea is perfectly conveyed by every detail of the song without mentioning it (as is the fact that the song is told from the perspective of a young girl, which i had never stopped to think about). What else could the song be about?, i think to myself now. I loved the song when i first heard it, but now i crush on it heavily. Do you listen a songwrite that can grab your attention with a very literally narrative song that you feel describes something perfectly? Will you still feel the same way if you find the song is much more than you thought it was? Is the artist capable of providing that sort of revelation? I can’t think of anyone else who can. Obviously, Peter Mulvey is extraordinary.