Songs of the Decade : Okkervil River "John Allyn Smith Sails" (2007)

The story of poet John Berryman, written by Will Sheff, with words, imagery, humor and darkness that even Berryman might appreciate. Thinking that his words were no longer accessible and fueled by alcohol, depression and confusion, at the age of 57 Berryman walked to a Minnesota bridge:

From a bridge on Washington Avenue, the year of 1972
Broke my bones and skull and it was memorable
It was half a second and I was halfway down
Do you think I wanted to turn back around and teach a class
Where you kiss the ass that I've exposed to you

And despite following his father's lead and ending his life, he was able to fly into the brightest winter sun, of this frozen town I'm stripped down to move on. He was seemingly ready, or his deteriorating mind told him so. As the song continues to implore, the band explodes behind Sheff's vocals into the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B" and you're left with a head full of images and words.

John Berryman's Dream Songs