One month out from the release of his forthcoming eighth studio album Ma, Devendra Banhart has shared its third and perhaps most heartbreaking single, a tender and unembellished lullaby titled “Memorial.”
Standing as an embodiment of the musician’s talent for crafting evocative scores for darker, more complex subjects, “Memorial” is Banhart’s heartbreaking attempt to understand death and mourning in song. A lush arrangement of distant strings, pianos and Banhart’s quivering vocals, the track is completely devoid of percussion, relying instead on unchanging acoustic strumming to build the song’s rhythmic skeleton. Lyrically, the song is grieving, but earnest: “You told me that love / Is when someone asks you / ‘Please leave me now’ / And you really do.”
Banhart explains the origins of the song in a statement:
Is about loss….
so completely heart-broken-open….
It’s about three people I loved very much,
And some of it happened just like it says in the song ….
Someone really did propose at one of the memorials …
We all thought they would have loved how surreal, romantic, and inappropriate that was…
It’s about those last moments,
How painful and perfect they were,
All the tears, all the tears…..
I don’t know what else to say,
Except that I wrote the song for you,
to tell you about it, see if maybe you know what I mean,
tell you everything, see if maybe it brings us closer, makes it easier to tell each other how much we love and appreciate one another….
I don’t know…. Maybe , maybe , maybe….
The single is accompanied by an animated visualizer of the album’s artwork, finding flowers growing, blooming and wilting as the song rises and falls.
Ma will arrive on Sept. 13 via Nonesuch, and you can revisit the album details and the musician’s upcoming tour dates here.
Check out the new single below.