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Courtesy of Dualtone

February 8, 2016

Spinning Singles: The Lumineers, “Ophelia”

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Last Friday, the world heard “Ophelia,” the first single released from The Lumineers’ new album, Cleopatra. As expected, it is hauntingly beautiful. The song is named after the ingenue of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The lyrics state, “And I don’t feel no remorse/And you can’t see past my blindness,” which is similar to the undying love Ophelia had for Hamlet, who did not regret ending their affair prematurely. The emotional distance between these two characters from the tragedy is evident in the song and, as a Shakespeare fanatic, I can appreciate the lyrics. Shakespeare scholar or not, this interpretation of love’s pain is universal.

“Heaven help the fool who falls in love,” The Lumineers sing as the piano plays faintly in the background. The song is a huge reflection of the rest of Cleopatra’s music, according to the band. Reminiscent of their hit “Ho Hey,” “Ophelia” has slower verses and a chant-like chorus. It is a march that wishes anyone who ever falls in love the best of luck. The lyrics are simple but deep. The Lumineers maintain their folksy sound of stomps and claps, but the song is slower and the sound feels more drawn out. There is a clear maturation in “Ophelia,” and hopefully Cleopatra has the same vibe throughout.

Marina Caitlin Watts is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at mcw236@cornell.edu.

One thought on “Spinning Singles: The Lumineers, “Ophelia”

  1. “Hamlet, who did not regret ending their affair prematurely.”

    From Hamlet’s perspective, it’s Ophelia who dumped him. Even he ultimately has to pretend that he never loved her, a good interpretation (such as Kenneth Branagh’s) will show him to be in agony over what has to be done.

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