“If We Were Vampires”
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Written by Jason Isbell
Not since Wynonna recorded “Sometimes I Feel Like Elvis” has the title of a song so beautifully mislead me about its contents.
“If We Were Vampires” is a gorgeous, achingly beautiful love song that explores the connection between immortal love and earthly mortality. The title is only mentioned once, as an interesting contrast: “If we were vampires and death was a joke,” Isbell observes, “I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand.” It is the truth being the opposite that fuels the declarations of love throughout the song, because “one day I’ll be gone or one day you’ll be gone.”
Isbell is nearly without peer as a songwriter right now, with a unique talent for capturing the shades of life that too rarely see sunlight. My personal favorite from this song comes early, where he notes “the way you talk me off the roof, your questions like directions to the truth.” More is captured about both characters in the song in those two lines than most songs even brush up against.
What a treasure this man is.