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All Songs Considered Blog
Thu April 5, 2012
First Watch: A Split Perspective In Megan Reilly's 'Throw It Out'
Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 8:00 am
"He is gone / movin' on / wants to be alone," Megan Reilly sings in "Throw It Out," a breakup song packed with melancholy twang. It starts spare and builds to a heartrending climax.
It's not Reilly's narrator who's suffering; "Throw It Out" is an advice song to a friend navigating a difficult separation. "You've been running around / trying to make sense of it / trying to make everybody else proud," Reilly sings. "I wanna believe / you're not gonna chase / after someone / who doesn't want you."
In an email, Reilly said that "Throw It Out" was one of the first songs she wrote for her third record, The Well:
"It's a really personal, emotional song and one of my favorites of anything I've written. It deals with the breakup of two friends of mine. I was watching my girlfriend fall apart. It's frustrating watching someone you love make mistakes, and sometimes you want to fix it when it's impossible. More than anything, this is a love letter to her to say that she deserves better, that she can't let life pass her by while she waits for someone who doesn't want her anymore.
For the song's video, Reilly worked with Antoine Wagner, who made the video for Phoenix's "Lisztomania" and had worked with Reilly's husband, the actor Daniel London (more music-related coincidence: London acted alongside Will Oldham in Kelly Reichardt's film Old Joy). In the video, shots of Reilly singing directly to the camera alternate with Reilly and London, dressed in identical suits, making exaggerated faces that seem at odds with the lyric's emotionally forthright content.
Reilly says Wagner's idea for that split came from an unexpected source:
He listened to the song for around a week, then sent us some stills of the old French comedian, Fernandel, from an interview in which, rather than writing out or speaking answers, Fernandel responded to the questions just by making various funny faces. Antoine, whose native language is French, said, "I have the concept for the video. I can't really explain it to you, but trust me. And do you think you could get your hands on some matching outfits?" Antoine showed up at our house in New Jersey one afternoon, with his infectiously life-loving energy, as always — knowing exactly what he wanted to shoot, what he wanted from our performances, clueing us into his ideas as needed, talking about a fractured relationship where Daniel's character has this specific world that he wants my character to inhabit with him and how my character tries her best to make it work, but ultimately must break free. It turned out to be a perfect distillation of the song's complexities and a metaphor for the lives that inspired me to write it.
Megan Reilly's The Well comes out April 24.