This is a story like many others of the Indie v2.0 generation: a little band in Canada develops as an side project to the immensely successful (and over-populated) Broken Social Scene, start writing aching love tunes and hope for big-time success. Not much happens, and then Josh Schwartz writes The O.C, where Mischa Barton discovers the perils of being young and beautiful against a soundtrack of cooler-than-thou anti-mainstream rock. Stars’ savage take on past loves Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, makes the cut onto the fourth edition of ‘Music From The O.C.’ and suddenly everyone wants a piece of these guys, especially when they figure out that singer Amy Millan is intriguingly good looking. Needless to say, Stars are now big, one of the most prominent acts on their Arts&Crafts label, which features New Buffalo, Most Serene Republic etc.
But my problem is that not many people actually picked up Stars’ breakthrough album, Set Yourself On Fire. Most of my friends can only associate the band with their position on the O.C. play list, beside Deathcab and The Killers. Which means they more than likely didn’t hear, what is in my humble opinion, one of the most beautifully sad pieces of music recorded this century. One More Night is not technically brilliant; it’s built around a pedalled quaver bass line and not much else. But this sparseness leaves a lot of room for the interplay of voices and lyrics, in Stars’ case, the male-female dichotomy which they execute to devastating effect.
‘One More Night’ tells the story of male domination and female exploitation in the realm of late-night sex. If that sounds dirty, you’re wrong. It’s brutal and often graphic ‘When she’s breaking his heart/She still fucks like a tease’ but it is sung in such tender wounded tones that it’s pretty hard not to break down and lament over all the times you’ve screwed over the opposite sex. The last few minutes are instrumental, as the strings come in and eyes start getting misty all round. If you can listen to this song and not have an emotional response to it, don’t call us. We won’t call you either.
Stars – ‘One More Night’