This pain... it is a glacier moving through you
July 23, 2013 6:20 AM   Subscribe

Glacier, the concluding track from John Grant's 2013 album Pale Green Ghosts is "the song that I wish I would have heard when I was a teenager".

Grant has written several songs about his struggles growing up in a family in which "homosexuality didn't feel like an option". Much of his first album, Queen of Denmark, dealt with his feelings of shame and isolation, exacerbated by drug use and depression.

Glacier strikes a very different note, tenderly reassuring the listener that "this pain, it is a glacier moving through you, carving out deep valleys and creating spectacular landscapes". In an interview with The Observer, Grant said "It's interesting to watch the young gays these days, because they're so much less afraid in general, but there are still huge communities where it's not OK at all".

Here it is performed live in a moving duet with Conor O'Brien.
posted by greenish (25 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
If I was in charge, I'd make this song compulsory listening for every kid entering high school. I wish I could go back and play it to 11-year-old me.
posted by greenish at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2013

Wow, this is gorgeous. I'm looking forward to getting home so I can download the whole album. Thanks for posting.
posted by nevercalm at 6:38 AM on July 23, 2013

It's also just plain great, too. Thanks Greenish. Have been damaging my eardrums with Pale Green Ghosts for a while now.
posted by aesop at 6:52 AM on July 23, 2013

Ah shit, I meant to buy this album a few weeks ago when I heard GMF on the radio. His voice is really something, but this song is just Wow. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:53 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been hearing GMF on the radio the past few weeks and loved the song without listening closely to the lyrics. Now that I have read them as well as for Glacier he goes right to the top of the must-check-out-further list. It's like Macklemore Deja vu.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:20 AM on July 23, 2013

Beautiful. Splendid lyrics and silky singing.
posted by Faeland at 7:35 AM on July 23, 2013

Speaking of Macklemore, I'm pretty excited that Same Love is a radio hit (and that the cover art for the single is Macklemore's uncle, John Haggerty, and his partner Sean). The more songs that refer to homosexuality in a normal, positive light, the more homosexuality becomes a non-issue.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The wonderful chaos of the outro is an interesting contrast to the body of the song, which is very deliberately-delivered.
posted by entropone at 7:57 AM on July 23, 2013

I'm loving this new album as much as I loved the last one, which is a lot.
posted by immlass at 8:07 AM on July 23, 2013

I've been absolutely obsessed with this album lately; so glad it's being shared and talked about here on MetaFilter.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:18 AM on July 23, 2013

I have to admit, I nearly didn't post this because every time I tried to write sensible words about it, what came out was just "I love it so much it's so beautiful and also I want to hug John Grant so hard I squeeze the life out of him except not really because I want more albums and murder even via hugs is against the law" which does not entirely constitute a Good Post For Metafilter.
posted by greenish at 8:35 AM on July 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ok, completely loving "GMF" from this album.

Oops, didn't see uncleozzy already mentioned it!
posted by jason_steakums at 8:40 AM on July 23, 2013

This pain
It is a glacier moving through you
And carving out deep valleys
And creating spectacular landscapes
And nourishing the ground
With precious minerals and other stuff

Good lord that's a wonderful metaphor.
posted by mediareport at 8:44 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, it is way less embarrassing that his voice gives me chills than when Ke$ha does.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:58 AM on July 23, 2013

This is great. I got to know his stuff as I met up with an old college friend after years who told me that he was the piano-player for this guy called John Grant who's "really good" so I checked it out and he was right.
posted by ob at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2013

That live version is amazing.
posted by saul wright at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

His singing reminds me a little of Brendan Perry.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:26 AM on July 23, 2013

I acknowledge the needless suffering behind the song, but I think I'd need to listen to it late at night in an emotionally exhausted state to really get what I'd get out of it. It's too early in the day for that now, so True Trans Soul Rebel and Bamboo Bones are more my speed. I need a mixture of anger and hope with my art born from being on the disempowered side of a human rights struggle. Anger at the senselessness and stupidity of the hate directed at you; hope that you can turn yourself into an incredible patched together postapocalyptic badass just to spite this awful world.
posted by byanyothername at 1:52 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, goodness gracious. What an affective and effective song. I wasn't expecting to burst into tears this evening...

I'm not that familiar with John Grant, so I'm enjoying meeting a new (to me) artist right now, this every minute. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 5:51 PM on July 23, 2013

Holy shit. Listening to the full album... this song is even more powerful in context.

John Grant has a new fan in me.
posted by hippybear at 6:44 PM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Okay, dammit. Now I'm obsessing on John Grant. Curse you, MetaFilter!
posted by hippybear at 6:31 PM on July 24, 2013

Yeah, I had never heard of this guy, and now I am hooked.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:40 PM on July 27, 2013

Why Don't You Love Me Anymore Nivolt remix.

John Grant goes dubstep.
posted by hippybear at 1:23 PM on July 28, 2013

John Grant on KEXP Live Performances. Showed up on the podcast feed this morning.
posted by immlass at 7:56 AM on July 31, 2013

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