Elbow–The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

I know I just touched on Elbow last week with a mini weekend post, but it’s time to revisit them in full.  Often painfully lumped in with Coldplay, Elbow are experimental and accomplished in a way  that other English bands of their ilk rarely are.  They’re masters at creating rich, involving soundscapes, even on gentler tracks that from the outside might be accused of being boring.  And for a band that’s often associated with feel-good, Radio 1 rock, they’re also surprising unafraid to show anger, disappointment and frustration.  The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver certainly is one of their gentlest songs, but it tracks the somber realization that you hate your job, and maybe by extension your life, even if it’s a career that you thought you wanted.  Guy Garvey cobbled the lyrics together from stories of people who realized their career was making them miserable, then asked the band to create something that sounded like a tower crane moving across the sky to accompany them.  You don’t hear a lot of prog rock inspired by coming to terms with your own failure of late.  It’s a strangely reassuring work, one that echoes your own frustrations while letting you know you’re not the only one that feels them.  Elbow are experts at expressing honest emotion without letting the situation turn maudlin and they achieve that again here.  Moving without being manipulative, it’s a heartfelt rumination on how much is too much to give to a job.


One comment

  1. Allyn · May 10, 2016

    I love this song.

    I didn’t love The Seldom Seen Kid when it came out. I listened to the album, listened to it again, and it didn’t quite hit me. Cast of Thousands I loved. Leaders of the Free World I loved. Seldom Seen Kid, it didn’t click with me.

    I took the CD to work with me, and I listened to it through headphones as I worked. (I’m a copywriter. I often listen to music while I write.) “Tower Crane Driver” came out, and there was something about the way my mind was occupied with the writing that let the song really seep in.

    There’s something dark, oppressive about the song. And then, around 3:20, maybe 3:40, something happens in the song. The oppressiveness fades away. The sun comes out. The song has hope.

    I was crying.

    I love the song. I get the song. Great song.


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