The song begins with an ode to tape hiss. It only gets better from there.
"Heart It Races" is an homage to analog. Who knows what they actually used to record this song. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m more interested in the effect than the machine, but that’s just me and also totally off topic. What I’m trying to say is that when people say they like vinyl better because it’s "warmer," this is the song they should play to prove their point (I have never heard this song on vinyl). This song has a million melodies lines that somehow never collide. The bass slinks by a chirping guitar line while the background vocals peek in just to get a word in. The lead vocals sound more like the voice in my head than someone singing to me.
This song came out when I was in college. Maybe I love it a little too much because of that. I think most of us hold the songs that soundtracked our college years a little closer than the rest. They’re a little dearer. If you’re lucky like me those years were golden, and even what seemed like tragedy at the time has a halo around it now. Beyond the sentimentality, “Heart It Races” encapsulates a lot of what was great about mid-aughts indie rock. It’s somehow danceable, thoughtful, nostalgic and completely indecipherable at the same time.
Seriously, what is this song about? I have narrowed it down to two things (possibly one): “Heart” and “It.” Maybe the “Heart” is the “It.” Whatever “It” is has been bought, stirred, thrown out of a window, and sold to a man (who is also later thrown out of a window). Meanwhile we’re apparently too busy staring at our shoes to notice. Oh and by the way you’re looking suspiciously tan, and you’ve got legs that look like either “splinters” or “spiders.” All the while, the “Heart it Races.”
This song is either a bunch of nonsense that rhymes and sounds cool, or there is something to be learned about nostalgia, memory, and the passage of time and perhaps the inevitability of death. I suspect it is a combination of the two.
At 1:40 into the song, the backing vocals come in during the bridge and sing either “Heart it races alone" or "Heart it races along." I can’t tell which it is, it might be both alternating. I have concluded that the obfuscation is deliberate. The song wants me to choose: either the heart races "alone" and the song is nonsense, or the heart races "along" and I’m meant to follow a meaning. Or, it is both.
At this point I could draw a larger connection to how we must make this same choice in the way we live our lives—either they’re nothing or they’re everything. Or I could not.
I don’t know. I guess I’ll listen to it again.