Daily Dose: Purple Mountains, "Darkness and Cold"

Music Features Purple Mountains
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Daily Dose: Purple Mountains, "Darkness and Cold"

Daily Dose is your daily source for the song you absolutely, positively need to hear every day. Curated by the Paste Music Team.

Struggling with a strained relationship is one hell of an emotional tax. Even worse: When you live with that partner, who seems to already be moving on with you stuck at home, the comfort of your shared space suddenly taking on new feelings of isolation and loneliness.

That’s the basic thesis statement of “Darkness and Cold,” the new song from Purple Mountains. The man behind the band, David Berman, is no stranger to crushingly dour music—his older musical project, Silver Jews, had a chokehold on self-effacing, despairing songwriting. That’s certainly still here, and is as painfully on the nose as ever: “The light of my life is going out tonight / So don’t look too depressed,” Berman sings in between vocalized sobs, returning with the self-conscious, “The light of my life is going out tonight / In a pink champagne corvette.”

Yet the dejected lyricism stands at odds with the rootsy and fun instrumentation. Maybe “fun” isn’t the right word, but the layers of harmony present during the chorus and simply strummed guitar work impose images of a man on the up-and-up. Depth is added with a second guitar line and bluesy synths, with everything cohering into something that certainly sounds like a clearer and more positive headspace than the lyrics suggest.

The video for “Darkness and Cold” (dir. Ben Berman) has a particular sense of humor, too. On a lo-fi camera, Berman stands in various settings in his actual house, watching his real-life wife prepare to go out. In one standout shot, Berman stands in the bathtub, singing the chorus into the shower head while his wife, applying makeup in the mirror, mouths the words, too. Elsewhere, Berman hams it up for the camera, breaking down while sweeping up dust. In one moment, he flickers a light switch as he sings about his wife leaving without “a flicker of regret.”

Maybe Berman is laughing through real-life pain. Maybe all of this is all in the past. Whatever the case, we got a hell of a song and video out of it.

Purple Mountains’ forthcoming self-titled album will be out on July 12 via Drag City. Catch the video for “Darkness and Cold” below, then go ahead and continue to be dour with last month’s “All My Happiness is Gone” here.