A semi-epic story of folly in love’s blindness, CocoRosie’s “Restless,” from their seventh album Put The Shine On, is based on a classic, straight-eighths piano progression. But layered upon this familiar lightness are the surreal images of a woman lost in passions, unable to see beyond her restless soul.
Restlessness describes well the careers of the two sisters that make up CocoRosie—Bianca and Sierra Casady have worked within more media and venue varieties than most artists ever will. From theaters—Bianca’s play direction at the National Theater Academy in Norway—to halls—Sierra concert arrangements for the Symphony Orcetra of Amsterdam and The ICA in London—to galleries—Bianca’s solo exhibitions in the Deitch Gallery in NYC— the two sisters are comfortable in many artistic settings. But their primary expression comes when writing, recording, and performing as CocoRosie.
“Restless” begins in nature, with the sounds of insects and animals in the night. As if imposing order upon the chaos of the untamed world, synth strings and some characteristic bass-slides—which inflect the verses throughout the song with a certain slipping unease—open up for the piano and the story to begin.
And quickly, our protagonist is defined in her manic melancholy; finding “a stranger’s place[…]where she takes her heartless rest” and “walk[ing] the streets with bloody feet preaching to birds.” How did she end up in such a state? Simple: “her love was blind, it shattered her mind.” As love does.
Bianca and Sierra’s unique vocal delivery are both featured in the track, Sierra’s breathy melodicism and Bianca’s creaky rap. It’s in Bianca’s verse that the real desperation of the protagonist is felt: “dirty tricks, crucifix, had enough of this/life of cuts and nicks, ticks and fits.” “She lost her way,” Sierra neatly summarizes.
Along the sprawl of the journey, which builds through repetition to a sort of celebratory note, there is no happy denouement: “with no trace to find her way home,” the restless heart wanders on. Will she get back to nature, to a moment before? Not in this moment, not in this song.