Sit Down for Dinner
Life rarely gives you a warning before it changes completely. There’s no polite tap on the shoulder to let you know what’s coming, no alarm bell to indicate that existence as you know it is about to become completely overhauled. It’s naïve to think we’re owed that luxury, but it’s comforting to think it could happen. Blonde Redhead are clearly hyper-aware of how circumstances are constantly shifting as they celebrate how precarious yet precious life is on their latest record, Sit Down for Dinner.
At the beginning of the pandemic, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino read Joan Didion’s 2005 memoir My Year of Magical Thinking wherein she came across the quote, “Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” Embodying that sentiment, the record's windswept sound reflects the fleeting and fluid nature of life. While Sit Down for Dinner is delicate and airy, it also addresses the magnitude of the choices we make, how interconnected even our smallest and most seemingly insignificant decisions are. The spacious soundscapes as heard on closer “Via Savona” feel as limitless and expansive as the endless possibilities we face everyday.
In many ways this album is an homage to that type of uncertainty. Even in its most painful moments—such as “Rest of Her Life,” which doubles as an elegy for Makino’s late horse, Harry—Blonde Redhead have a clear-eyed approach to grief, a gentle acceptance that acknowledges the pain but is able to make sense of it in the grand scheme of things. The album is meditative even when asking existential questions, such as on “Snowman,” the lead single and opening track inspired by Brazilian music, on which Amedeo Pace asks, “Do you feel alive, or do you only fall?”
Despite the release coinciding with the band’s 30th anniversary, Sit Down for Dinner, isn’t some reheated collection of greatest hits or recycled demos they recovered from the ’90s. Instead it demonstrates an arresting amount of growth and a kind of wisdom that can only come from experience. A gossamer record that makes peace with the fact that we’ll never truly be in control, Blonde Redhead makes you less afraid of the future across these 11 songs.