On Elbow’s “Open Arms” Single

Elbow’s new single, “Open Arms,” came out today, and as I did two months ago for “Neat Little Rows” I performed a little jiggery-pokery with Amazon UK and proxy servers to make the download happen.

In a way, I really only needed the single for the B-side, “Buffalo Ghosts.” Last week, I acquired an “Open Arms” promo CD from Downtown, Elbow’s American label, and it had two versions of the song — the album version and the edited radio/video mix. I bought the full single anyway, on the chance that the single version of the song might’ve been a different mix of the album version. It might’ve been, these things do happen, after all.

I mentioned, back in March, that I would put “Open Arms” in my top ten Elbow songs, as it’s a song that “paint[s] a powerful picture of loneliness, the chorus paints a portrait of friendship and acceptance,” and I’ve found it quite affecting.

I have one problem with the song as it is on the album, though. The song’s fade out is “noisy.” Besides some talking and sounds of general milling about, the song fades into the next track, “The Birds (Reprise).” “Open Arms” doesn’t end “cleanly.” It’s not great mixtape material because of that noisy fade.

The promo CD, however, has a clean fade on the radio edit of the song. But the radio edit isn’t ideal, either — it cuts out two parts of the song I really like, namely the instrumental builds to the choruses.

And the “Open Arms” single? It has simply the album version of the song, complete with noisy ending and abrupt end where “The Birds (Reprise)” would start. :-/

A thought occurred to me on the train this evening.

Perhaps I could use Audacity, cut off the “noisy” ending of the album “Open Arms” and slice on the “clean” ending of the radio edit of “Open Arms” from the promo CD.

To my surprise, it actually worked. It took all of maybe five minutes to make happen. I can’t hear the “join,” and I can’t even see the “join” in the waveform. Honestly, writing this blog post, getting it formatted, and getting it posted has taken at least three times longer than it took to “fix” “Open Arms.”

End result? I have a version of “Open Arms” with all the things I like, plus a clean fade. And I still love the song. 🙂

The B-side to the single, “Buffalo Ghosts” is very interesting. Besides lyrical callbacks to “Whisper Grass” from Cast of Thousands, the song has a very Peter Gabriel-esque feel. I like it.

Good stuff!

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