The opening lyrics to Franco-Finnish duo, The Dø ’s “On My Shoulders” leave a lot to be desired: “Why would I carry such a weight on my shoulders?/why do I always help you carry your boulders?” It’s almost as bad as Oasis’ “She has a sister/and on the palm of her hand is a blister”. It just sounds a bit artificial. A bit forced. A bit – well, not good.
Which is a shame because apart from these McGonagall worthy lyrics, this song has a lot going for it. It’s a heart-on-sleeve account of a woman who will do anything to show her love for a boyfriend who doesn’t seem to notice her efforts. “Oh, next time I’ll try it another way,” Olivia Merilahti sighs repeatedly throughout the song. It’s a kind of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” for the noughties.
Alternatively the song could just be interpreted as the thoughts of a deranged stalker (“But hey, you’re my man but they just won’t understand”) and restraining orders should be sought immediately.
The sense of heart breaking devotion/unbalanced obsession is aided and abetted by Merilahti’s fragile delivery of the lyrics. Her voice is almost Bjork-like in its delicacy.
The song has a rich texture, beginning with a mysterious, ethereal introduction worthy of Jeff Buckley. Later there is an instrumental section full of luscious string harmonies which wouldn’t sound out of place in a modern Bond theme tune – or maybe a Webb Brothers album.
This particular track has been floating around for a while now, originally featuring on the band’s 2008 album A Mouthful. It’s now doing the rounds on an advert for a stationery company whose USP is: “you can write on both sides of the page”. Remarkable.
It is, of course, a little harsh to criticise a band for an advertisement their song appears in. Returning to the business of the day, the song has a magical quality that bears repeated listening. While it is possibly a little too dark to be the “soundtrack [of] the summer” that the band would aspire for, there is something here that requires further investigation.
Hey, you might even want to buy the whole album.
Overall rating: 8/10
Release Date: 24 August 2009
Record Label: Sony Music