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72. Spiritualized – Won’t Get to Heaven (The State I’m In)

13/10/2009

72

Sometimes, more is more. While admittedly there are few Spiritualized tracks that don’t attract adjectives like “grand” and “symphonic”, this is big even by their standards: by the ninth of Won’t Get to Heaven’s ten minutes, a full orchestra, a gospel choir and six-piece rock band are going full tilt, and it is a magnificent sound. But despite the length and the bombast, this isn’t just some coke-addled wig-out or an “altogether now!” singalong – in fact, the piece’s precision and poise make it quite the opposite, and the sheer breadth of imagination is quite startling. Alongside the meticulous arrangement is one of Jason Pierce’s most passionate performances (he was reportedly going cold turkey from a huge heroin addiction at the time of recording) – when his fragile voice soars over the gospel refrain at the song’s peak, the sense of triumph is brilliantly uplifting. Sure, this isn’t for the faint-hearted or fans of brevity, but Won’t Get to Heaven is great precisely because of its extravagance.

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