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Headlights: Taking Self-Improvement to Heart

Headlights' "Get Your Head Around It" begins life in dead air before throwing in an electric-guitar motif reminiscent of The Velvet Underground's mellower days. Along the way, it picks up deftly tapped cymbals and glassy glockenspiel. Soft, raspy vocals quickly confront the challenge of self-improvement: How many times must we make the same mistake over and over again before we put an end to our lapses?

"I read a book about a man who made mistakes all of the time / He didn't give up, though, he'd make things right," Headlights' Tristan Wraight sings, before mourning the connection lost between friends and lovers who've outgrown each other in the name of self-improvement: "In silence, we both walk away." Under his words, the instruments fix together into a massive wall of sound that's anthemic, daunting, and haunting. Silvery vocals echo as though from distant rooms against organs, glockenspiels, and Wraight's cathartic wails of "Bah bah bah." It ends before it really starts, disintegrating until all that remains is the steady pulse of the guitar — a fitting end for a song that began as silence on the radio.

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This story originally ran on Feb. 21, 2008.

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Caroline Evans