Irish indie-rockers Rowan have just released a gritty black and white video of the track “One of These Days” from their new EP, Everybody Talks. It’s a song about loss. The protagonist lives a hard life on the street with no friends and no creature comforts, except for alcohol. He drinks to ease the pain. There’s a woman from his past involved, but now he seems more eager to beat up someone than to get back together with a lover.
The music is a heady mix of martial drumming, ringing guitar lines, and lead singer Dylan Howe’s drily emotive vocals. He understates the song’s drama for effect. The story of a man’s downward spiral is told as a narrative rather than a tragedy. It’s just the way it is. Feel sorry for the bloke? Of course, no one is born deserving of scorn. But he’s not an especially sympathetic character. He may have done nothing. The lyrics are ambiguous. We see him steal, and we see him fight. But we also see him as a human being. His name is “Happy”, which suggests life is an absurd school of thought.
Jack Ahern directed the film and successfully captured the inherent pathos and humor of the song. He uses close-ups of the ragged man’s face mixed with images of the seedier side of Dublin to suggest that life is hard. Kevin Patrick O’Leary convincingly portrays Happy as a physical presence. He seems to own the city that doesn’t have a place for him.
The phrase “One of These Days” can be understood in at least two very different ways. The line can be thought of as hopeful; the promise of a better future. It can also be heard as a threat. Think of Jackie Gleason a Ralph Cramden on “The Honeymooners”. This song doesn’t take sides (at one point rhyming “crying” and “smile”). It just puts it out there.
Hear this song on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.