Anyone up for a cult sing-along? Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros really know how to reel in a fan base, and probably a peace rally. A few years ago, we were all koombayah-ing along to the wildly successful and immensely sentimental tune Home off their debut album Up From Below. Who could resist? A frontman with untamed locks and a bare chest peeking out of a white blazer. A frontwoman with precocious dimples and a vintage style to match. The two are part of incredible force on stage that some call a band and I call a commune. I went to a show in 2010 in which lead singer Alex Ebert literally had all 1,000 of us sit on the floor for the encore. There may have even been encouragement to hold hands.
Much of the band’s music alludes to and revolves around ideas of faith and existence. Dear Believer is one of those more explicitly spiritual songs. The lyrics pass through discussions of heaven and earth, rebirth and paradise. Timmy the Terror‘s remix takes a different road than the original, one that’s a little more macrocosmic. That is to say, the Edward Sharpe version is tactile and terrestrial while the Timmy the Terror version is ethereal and galactic.
Paradise has its hunter
Call me wise, call me fool
I don’t mind chasing thunder
I say reaching for Heaven is what I’m on Earth to do.”
Dear Believer is just one vignette of lead singer/songwriter Alex Ebert’s ideas on community, love and reverence. The message isn’t pushy, just one guy’s thoughts on things. That’s what I think made Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros so popular in the first place – this ‘come one, come all’ kind of attitude. It’s an escape from the banality of life. When I think back to watching them live, yeah, it was really weird and even a little gross sitting on a drink-spattered tile floor. But sitting there with a thousand other people, singing along with the music and lights? Yeah, that was worth it.