Carl Anderson doesn’t remember writing this song. And he doesn’t quite recall what it is actually about – he offers only this: “What is this song about? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s about wanting to die but deciding to live, leaning into the suffering and realizing that this is it. Life is pain,” he shares in press materials. Therein lies the song’s wondrously meandering style, and electric guitars only float on the surface, calming and pointed.
“Turn the Wheel” has a particular approach and flavor, a bit psychedelic and destructively languid and cool. There are fleeting moments when his story unravels as string from a ball of yarn and ends up going nowhere. Then, his voice remains heavy and melancholic in a way that penetrates the soul. “Oh, I know how helpless you must feel / So hold on tight as I turn the wheels,” he sings.
Anderson is a marksman; there’s no denying the heft of his poeticism, often glazed with tightly dynamic musicianship. He’s got something to say, whether we’re totally onboard or not, and he charges valitantly onward. Or maybe we are just flapping somewhere in between and lost to our own psychological turmoil. “Turn the Wheel” embodies that purgatory to, ultimately, admirable effect.
Listen to “Turn the Wheel” below.