Songs of 2012: "Love Is Luck" by The Walkmen

A profile of one of my favorite songs of the past year.


If you're not Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, it can be difficult to get attention from the music-buying public at large (If such a segment of the population still exists).

Barring discovery by an influential radio DJ, the best an act can hope for is a major write-up on a site like Pitchfork.

To get featured on Pitchfork, you need an angle: crude and shocking skater hip-hop, recovering addict mope music, an album recorded and mixed entirely in your basement or perhaps a well-publicized breakdown weeks before your record's street date.

The Walkmen--for all intents and blogging purposes--are boring. They make straight-forward rock music. Most of the band members are married with kids. They could be Bon Jovi, if Bon Jovi made good music.

The Walkmen have been plugging along since 1999, releasing six well-received, if not thoroughly embraced, albums. They never added a keytar player, there aren't any Walkmen dupstep mixtapes available, they haven't released a track featuring Nicki Minaj (though that would be awesome). The band just keeps making records and touring, year after year.

In 2012, the hard work paid off. The Walkmen's latest, Heaven, has been garnering some of their best reviews to date. Prefix Magazine called the album "the work of a band with nothing left to prove."

"Love Is Luck," the second track from Heaven, is that rare gem of a song: A joyous 3 and a 1/2 minutes that doesn't strain for faux positivity or forced affection. The track's angelic guitar licks and combustible drumming chug along as lead singer Hamilton Leithauser entones, "One man he waits/One man's a-dancing to his grave/Who do I follow/Who do I blame."

The music betrays the mystery about whether or not Leithauser believes the proverbial glass to be half empty or full, and the chorus leaves no doubt: "They wrote it wrong/Cause love is luck."

It's a great message to take with you into the new year and here's hoping that 2013 brings us music half as great as this song from The Walkmen.


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