I'll come running
I'll Come Running - Brian Eno
I resisted Brian Eno for ages. I'd heard enough of his more experimental stuff to think interesting, but not interested. I also knew him as a producer of big budget projects, which for a long time damned anyone in my cred obsessed little brain. On the other hand, there was Eno's involvement in Roxy Music, which should have been enough for me. I discovered Roxy Music pretty young, 11, 12, but latched on to that seductive crooner Bryan Ferry instead (isn't the glamorous lead man what glam was about anyway?) not what seemed to me the weird, disgruntled second fiddle. Then I missed another chance to discover Eno in the 90s when so many indie rock tastemakers I respected named albums like Another Green World (US, UK) and Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy (US, UK) iconic recordings. So if wasn't until last year that I finally picked up Green World, and, inevitably, regretted not discovering it sooner.
The album isn't without experimental ambient passages--lots of em, actually--and some, like "Golden Hours," bloom into lovely tunes. But the record also boasts several straight-up glorious pop numbers. A lot of people prefer "St. Elmo's Fire," but for me, "I'll Come Running" is the best track for its charm and simplicity. Leaving the music alone for a minute to concentrate on the lyrical content, can you think of a more loving and profound expression than I'll come running to tie your shoes? Any greater mundane gesture? Imagine a child coming in from the rain, nose red and running, sodden shoes untied, a mother rushing from the stove where a pot of soup simmers to bend down and tie his/her laces.
Of course, the song is literally about someone patiently waiting in a quiet corner for a lover to return from a long journey--a poetic premise economically realized with two verses, a couple choruses and Robert Fripp's expert guitar interlude. There are also several welcome surprises, like an easy cabaret piano and castanet guitars. Who knows what a castanet guitar is? But it makes the sweet, fluttering Mediterranean sound that gives I'll Come Running its breezy warmth. My favorite detail, though, is in that final extended chorus--the whoa, whoa, whoa, whoas. It's a classic pop strategy that never wears out its welcome.