I have a lot of favourite songs and favourite songwriters however, if I was going to put my finger on what my favourite song of all time is, it would be “By This River” by Brian Eno.
I have been a huge fan of Eno ever since I started learning and playing music but when I managed to get his “Before And After Science” album I was transfixed by this song.
I was initially grabbed by it’s childlike piano motif which repeats itself throughout the whole song. The melody is almost like that of a nursery rhyme and because of this it had a very high level of immediacy with me.
Even though the format of the song is AAA, it doesn’t need anything else to deepen the impact of the song. “By This River” is a great example of the less is more principle of songwriting. Adding a bridge would take away from the simplicity of the piece.
This song to me shows that Eno is a songwriter of extreme confidence.
Lyrically it portrays a passage of time between two people by a river. I admit there’s not much information to go on however, from the tone of both the music and the lyrics, the song is one of sadness and loneliness.
It certainly makes me feel a tinge of sadness every time I hear it.
By This River – Brian Eno
Here we are
Stuck by this river
You and I
Underneath the sky
That’s ever falling down, down, down
Ever falling down
Through the day
As if on an ocean
Always failing to remember
Why we came, came, came
I wonder why we came
You talked to me
As if from a distance
And I replied
With impressions chosen
From another time, time, time
From another time
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Let me know what you think.