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Saying 'Thank You' in a Love Song

Micah P. Hinson sings with equal parts loving gratitude and grim resignation.
Micah P. Hinson sings with equal parts loving gratitude and grim resignation.

By the time he turned 20, Micah P. Hinson had already stared down drug problems, jail time, homelessness and financial ruin, so he comes by his dour world-weariness honestly. His difficult background also goes a long way toward explaining the depth of the appreciation he conveys on his warm and wonderful "The Day the Volume Won." In just under two and a half minutes, Hinson, now 25, bears the weight of his feelings as if it were the weight of the world.

"Despite all that I have done / you rescued me from me," Hinson sings with equal parts loving gratitude and grim resignation. The clarity of his expression, and the belief in his own salvation, radiates so purely that it momentarily becomes unclear whether he's singing to a loved one or a benevolent God. Regardless, for a song Hinson wrote at the tail end of his teens, "The Day the Volume Won" suggests an acute understanding of a lifetime's worth of failure, disappointment and stubborn hope.

After the recent release of his The Baby & The Satellite EP (a marvelous collection of reworked early material and demos), Hinson's prolific year continues with a full-length solo album in October, as well as Lights from the Wheelhouse, an intriguing EP recorded with The Earlies' John-Mark Lapham under the name The Late Cord. The latter collection, slated for a July 25 release, is highlighted by the mesmerizing "My Most Meaningful Relationships Are With Dead People" (bonus audio). A hypnotic seven-minute dirge that brings to mind a collaboration between TV on the Radio and Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti at half-speed, the track demonstrates Hinson's fully formed gift for brooding, deliberately paced beauty.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)