My Top 20 Songs of 2011 #3: I Break Horses – ‘Hearts’

There are songs that soundtrack certain moments in your life, which put them on a pedestal above other, sometimes better, songs. I Break Horses’ ‘Hearts’ is, for me, one of those songs.

I ran the London Marathon this year and the training runs were taking it out of me. I was on a particularly long training run, running along a country lane. I’d just been honked at by angry driver in a BMW, who had driven within centimetres of me at high speed, before slowing down to shout at me that “the roads are for f***ing cars… next time I’ll run you down”. It then started to tip it down with rain. I was feeling pretty low and then up popped a song on my iPod. A month or so before, someone had sent it to me as a demo and I had enjoyed that it sounded like the My Bloody Valentine/Cocteau Twins, despite the ubiquitousness of that Scandinavian shoe-gaze sound. I hadn’t remembered, but I must have put it on my running playlist.

As the rain started to pelt down, in came a shimmering synth, swiftly followed by a drumbeat that sounded like a heartbeat. Suddenly, as the propulsive synths kicked in, swallowing up the cooing vocals, the sun broke through the clouds in the distance and at once I felt like everything was ok with the world. By the time that the ethereal and elegiac coda kicked in, the rain subsided and a rainbow formed. It’s just about the single most transcendent experience I had all year. I now can’t listen to the song without returning to that instance.

It’s a glorious song, but more importantly, it soundtrack a glorious moment in my year.

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