Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Let Me Be Him” by Hot Chip from the 2012 album In Our Heads on Domino.
For over ten years now, Hot Chip has carefully fought the dichotomy of dance track and think piece. Even as far back as 2006’s The Warning, you could dance your ass off to “Over and Over” and then let your heart melt in between the melody lines of the title track. With new album In Our Heads, time has only allowed Hot Chip’s songwriting to ripen. With tracks like “Night & Day” and “Flutes”, Hot Chip goes harder than ever on the dance floor. But also present is the beautiful contrast of tracks like “How Do You Do” and “Let Me Be Him”, where Hot Chip finds beat to break your heart on.
“Let Me Be Him” is perhaps the emotional turning point of the record. This epic 8 minute track builds slowly. Joe Goddard takes the helm on the vocals – his deep, rich, yearning voice guides this track towards a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s starts a desperate love song, with Goddard rambling on with equal parts conviction and desperation. “Only foes and rejects, they are all we can see… but oh, let me be him.” With only a fool’s hope for a chance, Goddard pleads as the track builds. As the hook turns, Al Doyle chants away a wordless chorus that says everything that needs to be said – it’s a fools hope, but it’s still hope. Then, the energy turns brighter. “Broken into pieces, when he sang to me… call my name, remember what you mean to me. My love, my soul is running away with me.” Desperation turns to true love and conviction. By the six minute mark, your heart is completely on the line with Goddard. You won’t know whether to dance or cry.
Finishing out, Alexis comes in with a bittersweet lesson learned. “All this sense in me, it’s going to be the death of me.” Any long-time Hot Chip fan knows the beauties and toils of their stories of over-thought relationship and emotional ambiguity. Once again, the boys from school in the corner have the hardest time, not with communicating their feelings and expressing love, but just getting over their own self-defeat. In more ways than one, “Let Me Be Him” is the best example of this yet in a Hot Chip song, and is easily one of the absolute best tracks on In Our Heads.
In Our Heads is available now on Domino Records on CD and vinyl. Read our full review of In Our Heads (complete with sample tracks and music videos and such), and check out our coverage of their show in Seattle last week! For now, here’s their latest video, for “Night & Day”. Go ahead and sweat: