14 Reasons I Fell in Love with Jeremy Messersmith’s ‘It’s Only Dancing’

Today has been the Mondayist, Januaryist, Winter-Malaisest day of all days. Everyone in Minnesota is cranky. All the bullshit minor annoyances of daily life feel 821 times worse than usual because the temperature is Minus We’re All Gonna Die outside, in a winter that has already been filled with days & nights that are Minus This is Colder Than Usual.

We’re sick of ourselves and our families and the Internet and our houses and all the things, and we know that there are at the very least two more months of winter and if it is snows in May like it did last year we’re going to start burning shit to the ground.


Personally, it’s been a day filled with tedium and heart burn from eating too many jalapenos and I dropped a slobbery piece of Red Hots candy cane on my shirt and my skin feels itchy no matter how many unguents I apply and my hair is staticy and I haven’t spent time with any actual human beings in seven days because I had to skip Family Dinner last night because of blizzard conditions and oh my god I’ve written about 19,000 words today and deleted all 18, 803 of them.

Into this mess of malaise waltzes Jeremy Messermsith’s album “Heart Murmurs,” which is available for streaming at The Current.

And while I’ve heard a few songs off the new album on the radio, I haven’t paid much attention. They’re if you like that thing, you’ll like them kinds of songs. I like that kind of thing and thus I like the songs. They didn’t grab me by the shirt and shake me alive, but I dug them.

But today after all the crank and crab, I headed over to that stream and clicked play and the very first song “It’s Only Dancing” grabbed me by the shirt and shook me so hard my pulse raced and my heart swelled and my palms got a little sweaty, all those things that happen when you fall in love at first listen.

This is my new favorite song. Here’s why:

  1. The way the guitar builds anticipation at the start of the song.
  2. The line “pull you close, hold my breath, feel your heartbeat through your summer dress.”
  3. The whole idea of not needing an alibi because it’s only dancing.
  4. When the drums come crashing in at about a minute and relieves some of that exquisite tension.
  5. The goofy teenage dance with the mirror ball and the cover band.
  6. “It’s not like I’m in love with you. What a crazy idea. Where did you get that?”
  7. Mention of the word hips (and thus another addition to my ever-growing hips playlist).
  8. The way the music builds dramatically throughout the song, telling us we’re heading somewhere big.
  9. And that some place ends SPOILER ALERT with her in a veil and him in a clip-on tie and sweater vest watching her dance with her perfect groom.
  10. It’s a short story song and I love short story songs.
  11. It reminds me so much, thematically, of The Replacements’ “Nobody,” which, incidentally, also mentions hips.
  12. “I want to scream, I want to burst, I want to blame the whole damn universe.”
  13. Unrequited love songs are my favorite of all the love songs.
  14. It’s a lovely song on a lovely album.
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  1. Christa 27.Jan.14 at 10:07 pm

    I, too, was listening to this today. But my cause for pause was the final track, “Someday, Someone.” It’s totally going on my February mixtape. (New Year’s resolution).

    I need to go back and re-listen to your pick.

    1. Jodi 27.Jan.14 at 10:09 pm

      I will have to go back and listen to your pick. I listened to the album once and then the first track 183 times in a row.

      Also, I want to hear about the New Year’s resolution. I made a new one yesterday, never read anything someone labels a “think piece.”

      1. Christa 27.Jan.14 at 10:22 pm

        That’s a GREAT resolution.

        I’m trying to be a better music listener so I’ve been collecting songs for mixes.

        We’ve also come to own a small boom box and a buncha blank tapes.

        Eventually, this will all come together.

        1. Jodi 27.Jan.14 at 10:27 pm

          That was my resolution last year. . . sort of. More new music and less of the old reliables. Thanks to Spotify I listened to a lot of new stuff.

          You must post your monthly mixtapes on your blog, I’d love to read them.

  2. Christa 28.Jan.14 at 11:21 am

    Oh. My. You are right. I’m loving this song. I like how it starts like something you’d hear at the roller rink. And the words. This album is super well-written. So many great lines.

    1. Jodi 28.Jan.14 at 11:23 am

      I am listening to it again RIGHT NOW as I type. I love the “tangle our fingertips” line so much.

      I am going to try with all my might not to hit repeat and listen to the entire album. But man, this song.

    2. Jodi 28.Jan.14 at 11:26 am

      Also, it’s really nice to have music to obsess about that isn’t Jason Isbell.

    3. Jodi 28.Jan.14 at 11:27 am

      Also, John Lithgow in “Footloose” would have a heartattack if he heard this song.

  3. Christa 28.Jan.14 at 11:28 am

    Oddly enough, I didn’t think this album was very spectacular the first time I listened to it. But when I’ve doubled back to specific songs, I’ve done a complete turnaround on it.

    1. Jodi 28.Jan.14 at 11:30 am

      I was the same way! And now my affection for specific songs has spilled over onto the whole thing. I will now go back and listen to your favorite.

  4. Hotrod! 29.Jan.14 at 3:04 pm

    This song is pretty good. It’s no Haim, but it’s pretty good anyway.

    1. Jodi 29.Jan.14 at 3:09 pm

      The #3 most popular search that brought people to I Will Dare in 2013 was “Haim Sucks.”

      Go me!

      Also, they played “It’s Only Dancing” on the radio today and I nearly died of joy.

  5. Hotrod! 29.Jan.14 at 3:19 pm

    The Wire is the best pop song I’ve heard since Since U Been Gone. The rest of the record may suck (and it does) but that song is transcendent.

    But like I said – this one isn’t bad either.

    1. Jodi 29.Jan.14 at 3:23 pm

      Is that the one that starts off sounding like an Eagles song and the morphs into Shania Twain?

      1. Hotrod! 29.Jan.14 at 3:25 pm

        Well, Shania Twain and Fleetwood Mac, but yeah.

        1. Jodi 29.Jan.14 at 3:26 pm

          Yuck. You haven’t shown this much bad taste since your proclamations of love for Bryan Adams.

  6. Hotrod! 29.Jan.14 at 3:29 pm

    The Wire isn’t NEARLY as good as Summer of ’69. But then, what is?

  7. DanCMR 08.Feb.14 at 4:49 pm

    Obsessed with Jeremy Messersmith’s newest record. Snagged a copy on iTunes – first purchase I’ve made in a while too. “It’s Only Dancing” is my favorite on the record.

    1. Jodi 09.Feb.14 at 10:14 pm

      That’s a great one. They’ve been playing it on The Current for a few months now. The entire album is amazing.


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