Singled Out: Great Caesar
"McGill" is a song about dreaming. That's how it began, and that's what it makes me do every time I sing it. And I hope that's what it does for the folks who listen to it, too.
It's a story about a boy, "McGill", and a girl, Marie, who fall in love but seem to come at life from two very different perspectives. Marie is the do-er who runs all over the world, exploring its every crack and hidden spot. Her words are, "Pack up your bags and fly, you've got some living before you die, I've got this feeling, don't ask me why". "McGill", on the other hand, is thedreamer who sits at the window and looks out into the world, imaging - all in his mind - the great wonder it holds. His words are "Lay down and close your eyes, you've got some dreaming before you die, I've got this feeling, don't ask me why". By the end of the song, the two points of view have merged into one, as it is only through Marie's example that "McGill" "sees the light". In the last line of the narrative, they take hands and jump out into a great storm, together. We don't know what happens. And if we've listened to anything they've said, we don't even need to ask.
Dreaming, to me, is not just something you do at night when no one's listening. Dreaming is something you do every single day when you imagine the world you want to live in and the world you could create. But the truth is, there's no power in it unless you take action. Unless you jump.
There's a hint of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom in it; as always, there's a hint of The Beatles; and there is a very real sense of theater to it, especially in the ending when everyone in the band has taken on role in the story but then abruptly begins to speak for themselves. And I realized after playing it one night that there is also a bit -- or much more than a bit -- of Marina Keegan in it. Marina was a brilliant and inspiring young woman who passed away tragically in May, and who I had grown close to earlier this year. In the end, and despite (or maybe because of) it's many influences, "McGill", to me, is Great Caesar because it brings people together through music and story to make their hearts beat a little faster and their souls stir.
I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you dream. And do.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!