One Random Single a Day #22: “Waiting” (1997) by The Devlins

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The Devlins are an alternative rock band that hail from Dublin, Ireland and formed in 1990. I don’t know too much of Irish music outside a few niche players (U2, The Pogues, The Cranberries, etc.) and I can’t find too much on this group in general that would indicate that they had much commercial success. Nonetheless, they seem to fall in line with the singer-songwriter-oriented adult contemporary rock that became pretty popular in the mid-90s. One of their biggest marks to any kind of fame comes in the form of their single “World Outside”, which was featured in the soundtrack to the film Closer. American audiences – or any audience, for that matter – might be most familiar with The Devlins for the use of this single, “Waiting”, in the TV show Six Feet Under, where it was used during a montage at the very end of the pilot episode.

It seems that most fans of this song found it through Six Feet Under and love it as a result of the poignancy of its usage. I’ve never watched a full episode of the show, so maybe my appreciation for this song would be heightened if I ever get around to watching it. As it stands, though, this just feels like another inclusion in the acoustic adult contemporary genre. The entire song revolves around the usage of the word “waiting”, which isn’t a bad idea on its own. From what I can muster, the song essentially describes a series of situations where he finds himself waiting, using this as a basis to let whoever he’s speaking to (possibly a potential partner) that “If [they] ever change [their] mind… [He’ll] still be waiting”. I just think that this suffers too much from tendency of a lot of musicians in the 90s to jam together a bunch of words and phrases that sound poetic or deep, but ultimately don’t amount to much if you think too much about it. I’m still unsure exactly what the lines, “Waiting in the half light, waiting through your whole life / Waiting for an ideal, a low deal, a no deal, to play your stereotype” actually translates to.

Regardless of the cryptic nature of the lyrics, though, this isn’t really a bad song at all. The band demonstrates through this recording alone a rather refined sense of melody and tightness in structure, as well as a good understanding of how to put the emotion of the piece front and center. The lead singer does lack some charisma and doesn’t really mark himself as particularly exceptional to the slew of other dreamy-sounding frontmen of the time, but it doesn’t seem that the band’s material really relies on such superfluous material anyway. Anyway, this is an okay song. I can’t imagine it changing anyone’s life, but I also wouldn’t fret ever giving it another shot someday. As a matter of fact, I definitely like it more since I started writing this post (I’ve probably listened to it 4-5 times through the course of this review). So who knows – perhaps the ingenuity of The Devlins will finally hit me one day.

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