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This week, SportsAlcohol.com writers are recounting the best music of 2014. Today’s Track Marks focus on individual songs from albums that didn’t make our collective top five, but did appear on our individual best-album ballots.
Here’s how I heard about Strands of Oak and came to buy their newest album Heal:
1. A friend sent me a link to the song “Goshen ’97.”
2. I listened to the first thirty seconds of “Goshen ’97.”
3. I bought the album.
I’m not sure I’ve ever gone from literally never having heard of a band to buying their album that quickly. Such is the power of “Goshen ’97,” a song where the guy from Strand of Oaks sings about being a teenager, singing Smashing Pumpkins by himself, and futzing around with a tape machine. This sounds gently nostalgic on paper, whereas in the song it sounds approximately as triumphant as punching through a fucking volcano.
Due respect to the dude from Strand of Oaks, but the music video for this song is all wrong. One of the biggest opening stomps in any rock song I’ve heard in ages, and the video opens on an image of the dude sitting on his bed, smoking, mostly naked, and looking sad. Even when it cuts over to some roller-skaters, Mr. Oaks is still just sitting there like he’s fucking Sam Beam or something. I know the song goes, “I was lonely but I was having fun,” but the video seems like it only heard the first part. Eventually there’s some slow-mo thrashing, but no, I’m sorry, it’s not enough. This video does the worst thing any music video can do: it fails to capture exactly how I personally feel while listening to this song. For me, “Goshen ’97” is the sound of the exhilarating desperation of being alone. It’s just you, some guitars, and possibly the volcano you just punched through.