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In Search of a Perfect Song, The Soft Moon Edition

04-08-2019 | By Carol Clark | Issue 102

There are times when I think the iPod in my car can read my mind. I have it perpetually set to shuffle all songs. It's old, and sometimes it doesn't do a very good job of shuffling, not to mention the fact that because we take that car on trips there is a lot of Dave's music on it too. But, every once in a while, I'll think of something, like "Oh hey! I wish I could hear some New Order!" And, magically the iPod delivers. The other day, when I had a million worries on my mind, it smartly presented this:

the soft moon

Yes, oh iPod, The Soft Moon is always acceptable!

This is my fifth installment of Perfect Songs, so again I remind you that Perfect Songs are those that move me and send shivers down my spine. In my last article I focused on songs that were the first heard by any given artist. These songs drew you in, and even years later you still know all the words. One artist I meant to have on the list was The Soft Moon, but the more I thought about the song that drew me in, and their 2018 release that garnered a Brutus Award from me, the more I realized they needed to have their own article.

Back to the iPod in the car. In March 2012 Dave and I found ourselves driving to Pollock Pines, a small city outside of Sacramento. It was a long day in the car, and the iPod was on shuffle. I felt like I'd heard an endless stream of Dave's music when all of a sudden, the song "Alive" from the EP Total Decay started to play.


I was mesmerized, it fit the mood perfectly. The end of a long day, a sad trip as we were headed to a memorial service for Dave's aunt, and a deserted stretch of highway surrounded by majestic pines. Everything collided to make this Perfect Song. The next day was cloudy, fitting the mood perfectly, and that night it started to snow.


The Soft Moon was founded in 2009 as a solo project of Luis Vasquez. He is singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer. According to Wikipedia, The Soft Moon has been classified as post-punk, darkwave, minimal wave, and industrial rock. I have a hard time classifying music, I just know what I like, and I like The Soft Moon. A lot.


After that snowy trip to Pollock Pines I listened to the rest of the EP, and then the self-titled debut. I liked it all. Vocals were in the background, most of the times softly whispered. The sound was moody, ethereal, everything I liked. As time went on there were additional releases, they were outstanding.

Then finally, in 2018 a new release: Criminal, and the Perfect song "Burn."


Most reviews of Criminal mention two things. First is the fact that Luis Vasquez has found his voice, the words are no long whispered. Secondly, most reviewers compare The Soft Moon to Nine Inch Nails. I can see where people get the idea, NIN is a seminal industrial rock band. And, I'm sure the vocals on Criminal go a long way in furthering a comparison to Trent Reznor. Personally, I don't make that parallel. Maybe it's because of that dark ride through the pines that connected me to the music. Sure, there are angsty vocals that are delivered forcefully, but the driving force that is early Soft Moon is still there. It's unique, and to my mind it's sound that defies comparison.  

In my first Perfect Song article I said, "In my opinion, a perfect song touches you on many different levels. It goes beyond simply how it sounds into the more ethereal boundaries of how it makes you feel. It is a melding of music, lyrics, vocals, and that something extra." The song "Burn" has a driving beat, vocals that sear down your spine, and that something extra is the visions the lyrics create in my brain. At 3:20, it is too short, but then the rest of the songs on Criminal are equally perfect.

The Soft Moon has four full length releases, The Soft Moon, Zeros, Deeper, and Criminal as well as the EP Total Decay. Check them out HERE. And if you're curious about the rest of my Perfect Songs, you can read about them HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.