New York Morning is the first single to be released by British quintet Elbow from their forthcoming album The Take Off and Landing of Everything.
The track pays homage to the cultural and intellectual bustle of New York City: ‘Oh my God, New York, you talk / Somewhere in all that talk is all the answers / Everybody owns the great ideas / And it feels like there’s a big one ‘round the corner’. The lyrics were sourced from an entry in the diary of singer and guitarist Guy Garvey, which he made whilst in Brooklyn, and are initially set against a musical backdrop that feels similarly reflective, Garvey’s organic vocals sitting atop subdued synthetic tones. Layers, starting with a laid-back drumbeat, are gradually added until the chorus, which, whilst a larger sound, manages to somewhat maintain the intimacy of a journal entry.
Whilst it’s the textural elements and the atmosphere, rather than some big hook, that appeal to me about New York Morning, one cannot help but be drawn into the story of Dennis and Lois, which forms the basis of the track’s video clip. The couple, who have been together day and night since 1975 (‘with the exception of one night when the New York City Police Department had different opinions of where [Dennis] should spend the night’), seem to live within an ideal realm of musical appreciation – ‘That’s what I do with my money… buy gas and go see bands’ Lois explains. The couple are at points shown surrounded by memories and memorabilia, Lois going on to suggest, in regards to Greenwich Village, that ‘this was where the music was, and this is where the intelligent people were, and this is just where life was’.
Elbow’s new single paints the city as a thriving artistic hub, as it exists in the fantasies of all those who do not live there – a feeling augmented by the depiction of Dennis and Lois, two singular voices within that immense New York ‘talk’.