Song 249: Neko Case, “I Wish I Was the Moon” (2002)


It’s been said to death at this point, but I’ll say it again: Neko Case’s voice is amazing. It’s got everything in it—experience, hope, sadness, years.

In “I Wish I Was the Moon,” it also has weariness and resignation. It’s not clear what made the song’s narrator so cold and unfeeling, but it sounds like some kind of romantic disagreement or entanglement. Whatever it was, I’m glad that Case left it undefined and mysterious, if only for the sake of the song’s intrigue and universality. “I’m so tired” is a banal complaint, but in Case’s hands, it’s a powerful statement. Something bad went down.

Blacklisted is a gorgeous album, the first on which Neko Case was something other than “alt-country.” The record is dark, but never punishingly so; Case’s voice lifts the songs so they never become oppressive. The melodies don’t hurt, either, especially on “I Wish I Was the Moon,” which is just about the prettiest song you’ll ever hear about feeling numb and cold.

This song breaks my heart every time I hear it, especially this verse: “God blessed me, I’m a free man/with no place free to go/I’m paralyzed and collared-tight/No pills for what I fear/This is crazy/I wish I was the moon tonight.” That, my friends, is damn good writing.


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