The Shins are an American indie rock band formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996. The band’s current lineup consists of James Mercer (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, songwriter), Jon Sortland (drums), Mark Watrous (guitar, keyboards), Casey Foubert (guitar), Yuuki Matthews (bass, keyboards), and Patti King (keyboards). The band is based in Portland, Oregon.
The band was formed by Mercer as a side project to Flake Music, who were active from 1992 to 1999. The band released two 7″ singles and a full-length album When You Land Here It’s Time to Return on Omnibus Records and were touring with Modest Mouse when they were signed to Sub Pop Records. The band’s first two records, Oh, Inverted World (2001) and Chutes Too Narrow (2003) performed well commercially and received critical acclaim. The single “New Slang” brought the band mainstream attention when it was featured in the 2004 film Garden State. Consequently, the band’s third album, Wincing the Night Away (2007), was a major success for the group, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 and earning a Grammy Award nomination.
Following this, the Shins signed to Columbia Records and Mercer parted ways with the entire original lineup, deeming it “an aesthetic decision“. Following a near five-year hiatus, Port of Morrow, the band’s fourth studio album, was released in 2012. Their fifth album, Heartworms, was released in March 2017.
Wincing the Night Away is their third studio album, released by Sub Pop Records ( and the last under their contract with Sub Pop) on January 23, 2007. The album was recorded in James Mercer’s basement studio, Phil Ek’s home in Seattle and in Oregon City with the veteran producer Joe Chiccarelli. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.
Wincing the Night Away debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling in excess of 118,000 copies. This is the highest chart position reached by not only The Shins, but the whole Sub Pop label. During the same week, it also appeared as the top album in four other category charts: Top Digital Albums, Top Rock Albums, Tastemakers and Top Independent Albums.
In the album’s second week on the Billboard 200, it fell to number eight and sold about 53,000 copies. Like Oh, Inverted World, the album went Gold. As of January 2012 Wincing the Night Away has sold 622,000 copies in United States.
Personnel on the album:
James Mercer – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, synthesizers, ukulele, banjo, cat piano, percussion, beat and MIDI programming
Marty Crandall – synthesizers, organ, bass guitar, percussion
Dave Hernandez – lead guitar
Jesse Sandoval – drums
Chris Funk – lap steel guitar on “Red Rabbits” and “A Comet Appears”, hammered dulcimer and bouzouki on “A Comet Appears”
Eric D. Johnson – backing vocals and piano on “Girl Sailor”
Anita Robinson – backing vocals on “Phantom Limb” and “Turn On Me”
Paloma Griffin – violin on “Red Rabbits”
Niels Gallaway – French horn on “A Comet Appears”
Additional assistance by Jason McGerr, Marisa Kula, Chris Jones, Bob Stark, Brian Lowe, Brian Vibberts, Kendra Lynn, Wes Johnson & Pete Tewes.
“Turn on Me” is the seventh track and was released as the third single from that album in the UK on September 3, 2007. The vinyl also came with a special code that could be entered on to http://www.transgressiverecords.co.uk to receive a ‘digital record player’, a flash music player that streamed the entire track listing from Wincing the Night Away. Users of the digital player can receive email updates about tracks that will be playing in the future.
You can fake it for a while
Bite your tongue and smile
Like every mother does her ugly child
But it starts to leaking out
Like spittle from a cloud
Amassed resentment pelting ounce and pound
You entertaining any doubt
Cause you had to know that I was fond of you
Fond of Y-O-U
Though I knew you masked your disdain
I can see the change was just too hard for us
Hard for us
You always had to hold the reigns
But where I’m headed, you just don’t know the way
So affections fade away
Or do adults just learn to play
The most ridiculous, repulsive games
All our favorite ruddy sons
And their double-barreled guns
You’d better hurry rabbit, run, run, run
Cause mincing you is fun
And there’s a lot of hungry hatters in this world set on taking it over
But brittle, thorny stems
They break before they bend
And neither one of us is one of them
And the tears will never mend
Cause you had it in for me so long ago
Boy, I still don’t know
I don’t know why and I don’t care
Well, hardly anymore
If you’d only seen yourself hating me
When I’d been so much more than fair
But then you’d have to lay those feelings bare
One thing I know has still got you scared
Yeah, all that cold ire
And never once aired on a dare
You had to know that I was fond of you
Fond of Y-O-U
So I took your licks at the time
And a change like that is just so hard to do
Hard to do
Don’t let it whip-crack your life
And I’ll bow out from the fight
Those old pious sisters were right
The worst part is over
Now get back on that horse and ride
Songwriter: James Mercer