A Band-Aid for unknown wounds
There’s something about EPs that come through this reviewer’s to-do list that have a special impact. The scope of First Aid Kit’s Tender Offerings EP seems as large as a project with three times as many tracks, and by the end of even just the first listen, it seems like an entire 2-hour movie has just finished. Perhaps there are some specific tactics used by this sister duo that aids in the satisfactory listening of this project, or maybe they’re magicians among men.
One of these four songs is over six minutes, but for now, let’s keep that a mystery. When there are only four songs to choose from and one of them is long, it seems like the last spot would be the most ideal place for it, yeah? End with the longest track is a typical and effective move. But no—First Aid Kit opens up with “I’ve Wanted You,” a 6:39-long beauty that contends for the best love song of 2018, easily. Placing this one first alters the sense of time passing while listening to this EP and plays mental tricks to make us feel like we’ve been through more of a journey than we actually have. This tune and the one that follows both open up with guitar playing that lets deep breaths flow naturally, and my goodness, the lyric writing in “I’ve Wanted You” is enviable. One of many good lines that comes to mind is “Thought there was some kind of magic, but they were just well-executed tricks.” It makes the listener sad, but in a complete way, as if they knew they had to be sad for a bit, perhaps like a long goodbye. It’ll only be a few short months before this is used for a movie—predicting that now.
After the warmly-welcomed six-plus-minutes of the opener, the title track drops in for a greeting. This song brings vibes of a mellow drive to the beach at sunset with a crush in the first year of college, revolving around powerful lyrics such as “Perhaps I’m aching for something that words could never define.” Maybe love is what is needed right now. Maybe it’s space. Maybe it’s just a shoulder.
Self-image and self-analysis frolic frivolously in “Ugly,” a tune speaking to the struggle between what we think we want of ourselves and what we actually are. Right away we hear “I thought that being skinny was the answer to all my problems,” sadly, a thought shared by far too many. Later, “I thought that if you loved me, I’d be a person” and “Well if I’m ugly, I’m so much more than that” near the resolution of the song. Honestly, with all four of these but especially this song, one or two listens really speak for themselves, no need to clutter a page with repeats of what lies in the song.
Closing out Tender Offerings is “All We Get,” a tune with a similar emotional feel to “I’ve wanted you”—acceptance combined with melancholy, a sentiment captured in the line “If I know anything, it’s that nothing goes as planned.” Perhaps the sweetest melodic line in the EP is the repeated “That’s more than enough” that sends goosebumps down the arms and spread a half-smile, half-smirk across the face.
Two things should be quite clear after listening to this EP: 1) these girls know to write a song (or rather, songs) and 2) they have no fear of honesty, and both these traits are incredibly admirable. Give this one a spin to restore faith in humanity.