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A Billion Little Lights

by Wild Pink

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  • Tee Bundle (CD)
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Limited edition CD, limited edition tee shirt, ticket to album release livestream, packet of wildflower seeds

    Includes unlimited streaming of A Billion Little Lights via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Tote Bundle (LP)
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Limited edition Evergreen vinyl, limited edition tote bag, ticket to album release livestream, packet of wildflower seeds

    Includes unlimited streaming of A Billion Little Lights via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

  • Full Bundle (LP)
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Limited edition Evergreen vinyl, limited edition tote bag, limited edition tee shirt, ticket to album release livestream, packet of wildflower seeds

    Includes unlimited streaming of A Billion Little Lights via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

1.
I threw my horseshoe through the ice And you stood by It’ll be fine, all I meant to say was make a wish now I got your back I got your back The wind was just like a train I could hear it in the woods from a mile away
2.
I can see every star Though it makes no sense Time spreads them out like Jasmine on a fence Always behind I can let go but I’m still always behind Hem and haw, pitch and yaw It seems so clear Nature takes its back Year after year Always growing near I can read about The Troubles And listen to The Pogues If I should fall from grace how am I supposed to know? Always behind I can let go but I’m still always behind On board with an eye roll Rare water A ringing bell Rare water Through a porous cell It seems so clear Nature takes its course Year after year Always growing near
3.
Back when your mind was wild you Hallucinated, you were terrified With the storm that was coming your way The plan was to float away Face down In the San Francisco Bay On a clear blue day Where from way up high the coast is a crisp line And all the microscopic life like a billion little lights Become a single living thing All beginning from a single cell And now I can’t unring the bell And I want to remember every single thing Just not who I used to be Picked your poison with the best of them Now you slap their question from your face You want peace you want love You deserve that much Weeping through the show about space Your lily hand was pressed to the screen You were free but you were stuck for years You could sing but you had nothing to say You want peace you want love You deserve that much
4.
Amalfi 04:16
Dormant spore resting in the dust Nothing ever means nothing Trampled like us Just living for the dog now You were just a feather Another life in the breeze I could feel you with me When I couldn’t feel a thing You showed yourself to me like Forsythia in the Spring I can feel you with me When I feel everything
5.
Hell yeah I saw an analog There’s a tower in the valley and it won’t be long There’s a cross in the rocks like Copy in an ad workshopped on Slack so you’ll say ‘I clearly see the analog now’ Thank God I’m wrong all the time I’ve been so wrong my whole life And I’m tired of paying twice Why can’t both things be true? Why can’t both be true? You’re a fucking baby but your pain is vaild too And me, I’m not hurt You’re just dumb anyways Yeah, you’re dumb and it doesn’t matter Doesn’t matter anyway Out West they shot all the Buffalo Pissed down the barrels of their red hot guns Went around and skinned them but left them though Their bones to blanche in the prairie sun Their line’s been passed down a hundred years now With something jailers in a prison town know Why can’t both things be true? Why can’t both be true? Thank God we’re born free but just don’t lose the keys They hate our freedom but you can’t turn anything off
6.
Your love you gave to me You can have it back All I got was a heart attack Yeah you can have it back Everybody laughs easily There’s something wrong with me If everybody lives so carefree You can dream with me A hard day, you’re good to me You can have it back Heart of gold, honey bee Yeah you can have it back I was told life’s a raindrop Sliding down a windshield I perform my rituals right I don’t know about that You can have it back You can have it back Never figured out how to live Just dreaming all the time Never wanted what I couldn’t dream Just dreaming all the time You can have it back
7.
Every day is Groundhog’s Day now Writing in the afternoon, Temple of Doom on mute Making hay while the sun shines Never meant to cast a pall You were lit up by a disco ball Lights spin around Like stars that fall down Come back home Dream all night Hold on tight Stay right here Blood sisters Dazed and pure
8.
Track Mud 04:23
Dreaming of the Pacific Coast Socked in the Rockies though Come rest your heavy heart And quiet down your ruminating thoughts Rain down we’re sure to lose another day Rain down Rain down back East they yard it all away Rain down Track mud soil everything you touch Just come home now the rain will wash away the stains You mean well with your hands covered in their dirt Just come home now the rain will wash away the stains Dreaming of the Pacific Coast But for now we chase a ghost Losing days that never end Lost in anxious thoughts again Come down and ease the furrow in your brow Come down Come down in New York the Dogwoods bloom now Come down Track mud soil everything you touch Just come home now the rain will away the stains
9.
Pacific City 03:58
Watching Heat in the evenings I hate it when the robbers die Tonight I miss my home An ad with an orange put a tear in my eye Though I can barely recognize the person I used to be And all that treading water Quietly begging for some sympathy While you believed that you were doomed And everyone looked so much happier than you But you deserved the good things that came to you You just need a little room Through the screen door we can hear The thunder rolling in All the new birds are headed out again High above the Hemlocks, shaking in the wind Every little thing that I worried about Was a penance I tried to pay For every little thing about myself I couldn’t change There was nobody there to even hear the prayer So I learned about time To make hay while the sun shined And you deserve the good things that’ll come to you You just need a little room
10.
Die Outside 04:01
Swat the smoke from your face Save the sermon for another day You said you better lose that limp Though it hurts so much Never walk through a door the first time Standing on a crutch And I know a second plane Is gonna sink into frame With the broadcast live just let me die outside Let every wall come down With all the honey in a rolling boil You’ll always be with me inside Let every wall come down You dreamed a world that never spoiled Your blood is like ocean water Just off the beaten path In a desolate place In a peaceful sleep Beneath a mountain face Ripen in the sun Crumble into dust Mix in with the dirt Wash out in the rain And let the wise cracks fly But keep my postcard dry Where everything is right Just let me die outside Let every wall come down With all the honey in a rolling boil You’ll always be with me inside Let every wall come down You dreamed a world that never spoiled Your blood is like ocean water

about

Wild Pink’s last album, 2018’s Yolk In The Fur, concluded with a song about the strange sense of relief that comes with “letting go of youth.” Frontman John Ross, then in his early thirties, was singing from a place of newfound comfort and wisdom, but it ended with a repetition of the line, “I don’t know what happens next.” The song, titled “All Some Frenchman’s Joke”, is a beautifully concise rendering of a universal milestone: leveling up from the wide-eyed naivety and self-destructive routines of our youth, only to realize that we’re as unprepared for the future as we were for the past.

On Wild Pink’s third album and first for Royal Mountain Records, A Billion Little Lights, Ross explores that dichotomy of finally achieving emotional security—of accepting the love and peace he deprived himself of in his twenties—while also feeling existentially smaller and more directionless than ever before. The record is a two-pronged triumph: an extraordinary reflection on the human condition presented through the sharpest, grandest, and most captivating songs Wild Pink have ever composed.

The band, which is rounded out by bassist T.C. Brownell and drummer Dan Keegan, formed in New York City in 2015 and put out a handful of EP’s before releasing their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2017. It was a sophisticated showing for a band’s first album, but it was the striking maturation of Yolk In The Fur that established Wild Pink’s unique sound: a glistening variety of pastoral indie-rock akin to The War On Drugs, Death Cab For Cutie, and Kurt Vile, but informed by classic American rock poets like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. The album received glowing praise from Pitchfork (a score of 8.1), Billboard, NPR, Stereogum, and Uproxx, the latter deeming them “one of indie’s best emerging bands.”

Even though Wild Pink were operating within the relatively modest world of contemporary indie-rock, critics likened them to the types of revered rock auteurs who rack up Grammy nominations. So for A Billion Little Lights, they actually made that leap. The record was produced, mixed, and co-engineered by producer David Greenbaum, who’s worked with the likes of Beck, U2, Cage The Elephant, and Jenny Lewis. Like all Wild Pink records, the songs were entirely written and arranged by Ross, who shaped them into high-quality demos over the course of a year in his new home in New York’s Hudson Valley. But unlike previous Wild Pink albums, Ross enlisted a deep bench of session musicians and friends to perform a litany of additional instruments, finally granting Ross’s musical visions the space and sonic resources they needed to achieve their finest forms.


The ten songs on A Billion Little Lights are adorned with fiddles, violins, wurlitzers, saxophones, accordions, pedal steel guitars, and a variety of richly textured synths and keyboards. In addition to the instrumentation, Julia Steiner of the Chicago band Ratboys provides beautiful harmonies throughout the record, her soft voice recalling the friendly glow of a porch light when it switches on behind Ross’s dusky coo. On past records, Ross’s breathy delivery rarely raised above a hushed murmur, but here he sings with a melodic confidence that makes songs like “Pacific City”, “Die Outside”, and “The Shining But Tropical” some of the catchiest, most anthemic cuts in the Wild Pink catalog. The band have never sounded dated or nostalgic, but the lingering twinge of Americana in their sound has always given their songs a familiar, classicist resonance. On A Billion Little Lights, there are little details like speckles of auto-tune, flashing synths, and even trip-hop-esque drum loops that subtly yet effectively rebuff the notion that Wild Pink’s music yearns for a bygone era: the album sounds at once timeless and unmistakably modern.

That sonic quality is a fitting complement to the album’s lyrics, which see Ross caught in the bramble between his past and his present; feeling suffocated by the repetition of life while simultaneously gazing at the stars above and marveling at the unquantifiable vastness of it all. “Time spreads like Jasmine on a fence / Always behind, I can let go but I’m still always behind” he sings on the shimmering “Bigger Than Christmas”. On the sprightly folk-rocker “You Can Have It Back”, he cheekily sizes up his flaws (“Everybody laughs easily / There’s something wrong with me”) and outwardly admits, “Never figured out how to live / Just dreaming all the time.” “Family Friends” and “Track Mud” are musings on day-to-day stasis: “Every day is Groundhog’s Day now” he sings in the former, while lamenting about being “lost in anxious thoughts again” in the latter.

However, it’s the final two songs, the record’s musical standouts, that offer a tepidly hopeful counter to those periods of despair. In “Pacific City”, Ross sings about barely being able to recognize the person he once was, a self left behind once he shedded self-hatred (“For every little thing about myself I couldn’t change”) and learned to “make hay while the sun shined.” “And you deserve the good things that’ll come to you / You just need a little room”, goes its hook. It’s unclear whether that “room” is a reference to his literal relocation to rural upstate New York, or a metaphor for emotional space, but either way “Die Outside” is all about making it. With a stadium-sized hook and the rhythmic swing of a two-ton pendulum, Ross calls to “let every wall come down” with a windswept sing-song of a delivery, a barnraiser of a hook.

Whereas Yolk In The Fur ended with an admission of utter uncertainty, this album ends with a more conclusive observation: “Your blood is like ocean water.” It’s an almost soothing acceptance of our primordial nature, that like the ancient water of the sea or the billions of little stars above, we’re as much a part of something greater and everlasting as we are a mere flicker in the night sky. Wild Pink’s music has always rooted around in those sort of immortal complexities, but A Billion Little Lights is the first time the surrounding music truly captures those alternatingly micro and macro quandaries. It, too, is something to marvel at.

- Eli Enis

credits

released February 19, 2021

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