The Joy Formidable’s “A Minute’s Silence” was released on vinyl on Record Store Day this year. An exquisite piano ballad, it doesn’t have any percussion or guitars, but it’s easily one of their very best songs to date. The melody is beautiful but melancholic and the piano is rather dark. The song also uses keyboards to enhance its eerie vibe. But it’s Ritzy’s haunting vocals that really make the song a winner. “Forgetting will save you / forgetting will save me,” she sings, her voice oozing with pain. I especially love this verse: “I stopped counting / but we kept adding / all along the clouded way / sitting on a one way train / until we hit reverse.” It really couldn’t be any more poetic or touching.
The B-side is an inspired cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands” that was recorded live for Sirius XM. This one does have guitars — acoustic — and percussion, but it doesn’t have piano. In a sense, it’s the exact opposite of “A Minute’s Silence,” given the group’s energetic performance and the upbeat lyrics. Well, OK, not all of the lyrics are upbeat, but the song’s overall vibe is and it’s clearly a song that’s meant to inspire hope: “I believe in the faith that could save me / I believe in the hope and I pray that some day it may raise me above these Badlands.” To tell you the truth, this is probably The Joy Formidable’s most cheery recording to date and it’s highly enjoyable.