Should You Follow?

Cody ChestnuTT – Don’t Follow Me from Landing On a Hundred

If you listen to Cody, the answer to that question is a definite NO. Nestled in the middle of his excellent second full length record, 10 years in the making, this is a sad but pretty song.

For a moment the drum beat, strings and organ that open the song mimic Portishead’s Numb, but that changes with a quick piano part and Cody’s voice, which is quite different than Beth Gibbons.

That voice has a nice range that he uses throughout the song to convey the strong emotions in his lyrics. The first verse makes it seem that the singer is requesting a former lover (“baby”) to follow any in a list of things, but “whatever you do, don’t follow me.” The feeling that he might be literal in his plea is strengthened by the echoing of the refrain “don’t you follow me”, as if he is literally running away and saying it over his shoulder.

However the second verse flips your thoughts as here he provides the same advice to his “son”. Now he seems to be warning his offspring to make different choices, any choice, but to follow in his father’s footsteps. It makes you revisit the first verse and wonder whether he is abandoning his lover and not being chased away. That feeling is strengthened by his singing about not knowing what he now knows in the third verse.

I’ll admit that you could make other interpretations (possibly he is also spurning the child he had with the subject of the first verse), but that’s part of what makes it an interesting song.

The “boom boom Bap” of the drums (I’m a sucker for that heavy smack of a loose snare drum) and the soulful strings and sax that permeate around that drum sound and keep the mournful tone of the song. The piano comes back for a short turn before ceding control back to the organ and drums. The drums quit a little before the end and the sax flutters and dies as the song ends.

You can listen to the song here.

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