Warpaint-Billie Holiday.

Two years ago I heard a song by accident whilst researching something for my dissertation for Uni. This song just did something to me immediately. I wasn’t exactly at my best when I heard it, but it did something that improved life greatly. It also distracted me from doing any work. At this point, I really didn’t care.

Part of my dissertation was about Billie Holiday, I think you know where this is going.

My love (or obsession) for Warpaint started in 2009. I was listening to a load of Billie Holiday songs, and whilst I was searching for something about her, I saw the words Warpaint-Billie Holiday. I had NO idea what it was, and being the curious bugger I am, I clicked on the link. I wept. I’ve never heard an angel sing before but I’m pretty sure I heard it in this song. All I got from this song was utter love and devotion. If you want to call it a love song, so be it. Since then, I’ve always said if I was ever silly enough to get married (LEGALISE IT PLEASE) I would have this as THE song. Even better, I’d have Warpaint sing it. Actually, I’d just marry Warpaint. Problem solved really, right? I’d love them all equally and all I’d want was for them to sing to me all the time. I have far too much time on my hands and I also stupidly have far too much love to give.

I could quite happily listen to this song over and over. I’ll level with you, I do it anyway. I listen to it all the time. Whether I’m going for a walk or just laying in the dark due to lack of sleep- I play it. Recently the song was remastered. I refuse to talk about it because it hurts. The new version has stripped away EVERYTHING that this song is. The new version lacks the build up. I’m not happy about this. I know that change is good but LEAVE WARPAINT ALONE. I don’t care if you were a member of Pulp- BACK OFF. Now, with my rage out of the way; I will now pour out the love.

Lyrically, it is simple. However the way it is sung is so precious and delicate. If you could physically hold the song you would cuddle the fuck out of it. You’d cling onto it for dear life. “As I walk this line, I am bound by the other side. And it’s for my heart that I live, ‘cause you never die.” The way Emily sings this just makes my heart explode with every positive emotion known to the human race. The song is so pure and fragile; it oozes every single positive feeling imaginable. It is just sheer devotion to another- it is unconditional love. If you listen to this song, and you cannot appreciate how gorgeous the vocals are, then you’re silly. I could use a stronger word but I’m not in an arsey mood today. However, there’s 2 hours left in the day and someone will no doubt irk me won’t they.

The way B.I.L.L.I.E H.O.L.I.D.A.Y is sung over the verses is beautiful. The way they harmonise with each other is so stunning. It makes you wish you could sing something so beautiful. This is the only song by Warpaint that doesn’t create any imagery in my mind. Instead, it just hits me in the soul. That’s more powerful.

When they sing, “As a matter of a opinion I think he’s tops….etc.” then the drums kick in, and they sing B.I.L.L.I.E H.O.L.I.D.A.Y again, it’s so powerful. This song is so angelic and loving. Songs like Baby are so fragile and open. This one is just admiration and unconditional love.

I remember exactly how I felt when I first heard this song, and when I listen to it now; I feel exactly the same way. It’s like looking at the person you’re in love with or whatever for the first time, even though you’ve been with them ages- you get that feeling in your gut that takes you back to the first time you saw them. Even the cruellest of people know this feeling. It’s a killer, but its okay I suppose.

I adore the line, “Well if you want to know me, I’m a war- come paint.” I don’t know what it is about that line, it just stays with you.

Once you’ve listened to this song, it’ll stay with you. You’ll sing along even if it is in a murderous fashion. You cannot help but join in with the harmonising. Except you don’t sound like Warpaint, you probably sound like a cat being stood on. I’ve never stood on a cat, but you know what I mean.

It is a basic song compared to their others, but because it is so simple- it holds so much more. Warpaint do not need to go over the top with guitar solos or mental drumming to prove they are the best band around. Exquisite Corpse and The Fool are stunning works of art, what makes them phenomenal albums is you being able to tell that they really feel the music. When a singer or band can make you sense their passion for what they are creating; you feel it even more.

The song lasts 6 minutes and 45 seconds; again more proof that longer songs are easily the best. The song builds up so many times throughout, and it keeps you on edge- but in a gentle way. The way they sing this song is just like a lullaby. Honestly, if you’re having trouble sleeping listen to this song. Followed by Stars, Lissie’s Heart Murmur and Baby. Actually, just listen to all their music. Don’t go to sleep, you don’t need it; just keep listening to Warpaint. Nothing else really matters apart from their music.

It’s amazing how a song so simple can erupt such grand feelings. Good feelings. There aren’t many songs that make you feel one solid feeling when you listen to it. With Warpaint there’s one feeling I get with every single song- euphoria. Every single song of theirs has a build up within it and this tidal wave of euphoria just captures you. Billie Holiday is such an ethereal song. The vocals, tame drumming and the simple guitar sounds are so enthralling. It’s all well and good just playing this once but when you play it on a loop, over and over again; you notice different layers to it. This isn’t just obvious in this song; it is within all Warpaint songs. Maybe it’s because when you listen to Warpaint you put everything you have into listening to it. You discover different parts, and with discovering these different parts you just get taken to a different place. This place just consists of you and the music. There is honestly no better place than where a song takes you.

Escapism is a beautiful thing to experience from music. I get that every single time I listen to Warpaint.

One thought on “Warpaint-Billie Holiday.

  1. i think the line actually goes “well if you want to know me i’m a war companion” haha it’s my favorite line too

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