Looking back at … The Sundays

The Sundays – Blind

There are seasons and times in our lives we call our very own favorites. Mine are the 90s. Even though I cannot remember much (I was a dispersed child, now I am a dispersed grown-up) I do remember odd hairstyles, my sister wearing strange black boots as she danced to “Industrial” music (and other odd sounding to my ears rhythms), and grunge.

From these fond memories that I have in my mind, I still have the image of a sky-blued voice, tender and ethereal as an angel singing out our destiny in our sleep. At least that was what I though when I first listened to that voice. Those were the days when I used to listen to the radio; no one would tell who the artist was or the name of the song (Jinx!). About 10 years later I came to know the name of the song and the name of the artist (a band, actually): The Sundays, and the name of the so cotton-like and gentle voice, Harriet Wheeler.

Oh, my good cheeseburger! Did I fall in love with this band! She’s the owner of one of the best female voices I have ever heard in pop music and no one could have ever been so natural or spontaneous to transfer so much magic unintentionally by singing just one note. No question why the category The Sundays falls in is Dream Pop.

I found my favorite album out of three: Blind (1992). It’s their second albums,  including famous tracks like “Love”, “Goodbye” and “I feel”, and 9 more tracks for the grand total of 12. Having a vocalist with the voice of Harriet Wheeler means that 80% of the music is done; however, the other 20% is so brilliant and the band really put its back on it to fill 50% of the whole concept so there is no Harriet Wheeler without The Sundays, and The Sundays is not The Sundays without Harriet Wheeler. I still regret I did not have the chance to be a fan while they were still part of the world’s active music repertoire (first album in 1989, last album in 1997), but I do think it is good to have memories as these in a so enigmatic decade.

The feeling and imaginary I get with Blind: my future, a good one, the one I have always dreamed about. Loving, living, feeling every inch of my surroundings all together under a blue sky, and hilly landscapes (goats included).

Once I got the chance, I really paid attention to lyrics and searched for those my Native Mexican Spanish ear could not get. Oh, my deadly cheeseburger! Even blue skies have stormy clouds under them and may shred our souls if inadvertently attacked at our most depressing mood. How can a magical music ensemble give wings to so sad syllables that semantically resemble our greatest disappointments and sad moments?: “Goodbye”, the second track, starts talking in music about running away and a glimpse of hope; in words, about saying goodbye to the old ways, waving goodbye to sharing our life with someone we are not meant to be, just as let go. The third track, “Life and Soul” is all part of a dream for a better future surrounded with dreamy sounds, as being half awake and half asleep with the sound of an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar as the main sounds of the song; the lyrics, two particles (lovers maybe) becoming one, at the very moment one party realizes how his/her love has transformed itself, or maybe about suicide, who knows?

Another track that is worth to mention is “Love”, oh, yes! How many songs about love have you ever heard of or listened to? Honestly, I lost the count and thought this would be no exception. Ha! This song is about Love but for oneself. Clever!  “God made me”, the sixth track, is also in my “Clever” lyrics category, discussing explanations we get about the world and everything when we are children and that we might feel like questioning when we are ‘grown-ups’.

Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin used to be The Sundays’ lyricists by excellence, and though meanings could be a little blurry or far too cruel to think about, they always found the words sometimes we fail to pronounce when we are at the same exact situations, the words for what we find it hard to talk about: ending relationships, fooling oneself when a relationship does not work anymore and experiencing spiritual death when trying to hold on, how can I even explain I made one of my dearest friends cry with one of their songs? It was not that the song really sucked, it is just that reality hurts (and sucks too at times).

Having a traditional set of instruments (some guitar distortions, well founded bass lines and strong drumming style, as reality and heaven in eternal conflict) and adding keyboards (for a dreamy atmosphere), this band is one of the most underrated talents I have ever come across with. The band decided to split, rumor has it, for the sake of their personal lives. There are priorities in this world, you know?

Each one to its own, but the one thing I am sure is that The Sundays are a shelter for every listener, when it comes to music: paradise, angels and magic embodied in music and in the voice of a talented woman, along with the cold of biting reality in their lyrics.

More than ten years after they split, we still remember them and thank them for their contribution to the welfare of our senses just for doing what they liked to do: Music.

Words: Tonan

Listen to this album on Spotify.

About the author: Tonan needs a vacation. Quick snap.

5 thoughts on “Looking back at … The Sundays

  1. One of the most beautiful albums ever. Straight from earth to heaven, 10000000 times. The only album that takes you to sadness while you grin, and gets you back to happyness while you feel blue, all at the same time.

    Great review Tonan!

  2. “Blind” is close to perfection, but I love “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic” for Harriet’s wilder quirkier voice (“Hideous towns, make me throw… up”!). And “Static and Silence” has their two songs that affect me most, “Leave this City” and the heartbreakingly beautiful “Folk Song.” Voice, band, songs; just wonderful.

    1. @Skierpage agree 100% on that. I bought Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and Blind in a discount shop in Edinburgh ages ago and I think I also prefer the first one. All three are wonderful albums, though. My finest hour and the sheer brutality of Joy are my all time Sundays songs.

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