This is why. This is the reason. Mark Kozelek made plenty of headlines recently in a juvenile beef with the War on Drugs, and people who hadn’t heard his music before might fairly have wondered why anybody was putting up with this nonsense. His discography as Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon, however, has more than its fair share of quietly enduring monuments to existential-crisis melancholy, not least on this year’s magnificent Benji, and he has returned to what he does best on “The Possum.”
At nine minutes, the latest Sun Kil Moon song covers a wide berth. It’s an exquisitely tender reflection on a dying possum, palling around with Godflesh and staying in to watch TV with a loved one, plus whatever metaphorical layers we want to read into all that. “I want to grow old and to walk the last walk,” he sings at what feels like a climactic moment, “knowing that I too gave it everything I got.” With Benji guest Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth on drums, the track takes a couple of unexpected turns, including a spoken-word recitation toward the end. There is no “beer-commercial guitar.”
“The Possum” will be available December 1 via Caldo Verde Records.