Coheed and Cambria - “A Favor House Atlantic”
The words you scribbled on the wall / The loss of friends you didn’t have
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with internet friend (and fellow One Band // One Week-er) Jake Cleland when he came to visit Sydney. After hearing us talking about my upcoming week of Coheed, my girlfriend told a story which I’d completely forgotten: that after a particularly harrowing day in 2005, at the height of my adolescent depression, I called her, distraught. I needed her to do me a very particular favour, because I didn’t have my copy of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, and didn’t have any internet access, and I really needed to hear “A Favor House Atlantic”. I asked her to download the song, and then play it down the phone to me. She did, and after it had ended, I was fine. I thanked her and said goodbye.
For many people, this is the Coheed song. Some know it as “Bye Bye Beautiful”, an erroneous title spread through those same P2P clients that led me to the band in the first place (some YouTube videos still use this incorrect title).
It’s not hard to see the appeal, or understand why this has remained the song so many people associate with the band. For one, it’s HOOK after HOOK after HOOK, and by the time the true chorus hits at 1:44 every melody could have been a chorus in its own right. But it’s memorable not just for how catchy it is, but those unfamiliar with prior Coheed material were probably struck with how unusually dark a lot of the lyrics are for such a jubilant piece of music.
Good eye sniper / Here I’ll shoot, you run
Chances are, if someone was to recognise the song without knowing it by it’s true title (or by “Bye Bye Beautiful”, for that matter), they probably know it as “the sniper song”.
This was the first single from IKSSE:3, a dramatically different record from SSTB. A heightened production budget is the most notable change, but the band also focused on the poppier side of their songwriting. “A Favor House Atlantic” exemplifies this, but the fact that it comes between the darkest song on the album (“Al The Killer”) and the most ambitious song on the album (“The Light And The Glass”) is telling of how broad the bands sonic reach still was at this point.
Bonus trivia: the girl who got me into Coheed & Cambria went to UNSW, which is where Alex and I went the night after this conversation.