November 8, 2016, has perhaps become one of the great sticking points of contemporary songwriting. The artists who have taken a swing at commenting on the emotions of the moment have mostly not hit the mark, despite the fact that the results of the last American presidential election provide no shortage of the emotions which typically inspire singer-songwriters: love, hope, fear, disappointment, anger.
But in the case of Pharis and Jason Romero’s “Stitch in Time,” from their fourth release, Sweet Old Religion, musical commentary on the present moment came after a year of singing “Hey Diddle Diddle” to their children every night. The couple notes that the melody Jason created for that old nursery rhyme was in Pharis’s head on election night, and she sat down and wrote out the words for what would become “Stitch in Time” to that melody.
The song’s refrains progress from “sleepin’ alone and sad” to “a star is trying to shine” and “I close my eyes and cry,” carrying the listener from sadness to hope and back to sadness.
Though there is a prevailing optimism in the song, which uses the nighttime as its primary context. For starters, each verse ends on a high note in a major key, almost hymn-like in its melody. Besides, the fact about a night is that it always passes—the light inevitably comes and drives away the darkness. The stars don’t have to shine; the clouds simply move and then we can see the starlight.
In fact, the spirit of this darkness versus light metaphor, the movement inherent in the song, its reverence for the natural world, and other threads are beautifully captured in the video below.
Pharis notes, “The video was conceived and executed by Nikolas Tsonis, an incredible animator working out of Toronto, Ontario. The cosmic connections, animals, and fractal nature of the video all reflect the feelings of hope in the song.”