Adrie’s Beats of the Week: The Actual Tigers “Yardwork in November”

Willis (later the Actual Tigers) at Fiddlestock III, 1998
Six282011, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Willis (later the Actual Tigers) at Fiddlestock III, 1998 Six282011, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to Adrie’s beats of the week, a weekly column dedicated to remarking upon the intricacies of modern music. To submit any songs for entry, please contact [email protected], with the subject line, ‘beats of the week.’ 

Every new fall that rolls around, I seem to like it even less than the last. I pine away for the bright days of summer and dread the starting of another school year. I don’t particularly enjoy letting go of the warm sunshine, and I don’t find myself attracted to the changing leaf colors.

Walking into any sort of craft store at this point of the year will immediately send me in the opposite direction; seeing all of the abhorrently fake-looking red and orange leaves and branches outside of their normal clearance aisle residence. I don’t enjoy the colors that stream in with fall, the browns and burgundys and the oranges.

I don’t like people’s hopeless romanticism of the season (although I must admit that I probably do this to other seasons; I think my hypocrisy is irrelevant here). Visuals aside however, fall just feels a little too stale for me. It is almost like the waiting room of seasons, the time you have to endure before you can get to the holidays. 

Sometime in late August though, I came across  “Yardwork in November”, a song from [the] Actual Tigers treasure of an album, Graveled and Green. The opening chords of the song somehow captured a cool sweetness that both felt like early fall days and that I found extraordinarily beautiful.

It wasn’t overwhelming, but carefully crescendoed into a push and pull of sounds that emulated the very essence of fall. It’s simple enough to capture the reality of the season, and conjure up the feeling but doesn’t demand to be your favorite. Similar, I think, to the song’s placement in the album. 

Musically I think it’s perfect. The lyricism of the song, however, to be totally truthful, doesn’t make that much sense to me. I am not sure of what all the lyrics mean, or what they mean to each other, and overall I don’t think the album is trying to tell a story.

The opening lyrics read “The summers gone/ I’ve been awake awhile just waiting for a sign.” That to me feels like a really good picture of honest acceptance. The song itself is pretty upbeat, but summer is gone, and we need to acknowledge that now. The next, however, “On my roof at dawn/ I am imagining the sunset in your eye/ Demon town”, doesn’t have any relation to my feelings about the season, or really anything, and I won’t pretend to conjure up some revelation of meaning. The song goes on like that until the end, a mixture of things that feel relevant, and things that don’t. 

My overall opinion on fall hasn’t much changed, but for at least three minutes, and fifty-nine seconds, I can see the beauty that people are able to find in it. It made me want to take a long walk in the wind and rain, holding hands with someone that I love. It has become my armor against the aforementioned craft store, but even with its power over me, I probably will just stay away until post-thanksgiving, when even the furthest clearance section corners have been cleared out by the fall enthusiasts. I would highly recommend this song to them.