Sometimes the journey outweighs the destination. That’s especially true when the destination consists of a nightmarish potential contrast between elation and despair. Feist and Ben Gibbard’s cover of Vashti Bunyan’s lowly 1966 ballad “Train Song” illustrates the paralyzing uncertainty of chasing the unknown all while leaving every bit of positive assurance in the dust. Unlike the typical duet, their love-centric lyrics are overcast by a cloud of gloomy chords and mildly pessimistic expectations. Their bond is loosely founded but their direction is unchangeable, leaving each individual hundreds of miles to question what they got themselves into.
The literal destination of “Train Song” was well worth the wait as it debuted as one of the most celebrated tracks on the 2009 charity album Dark Was The Night. This album served as an extraordinarily successful tributary collection created by the activist organization Red Hot to raise awareness for HIV and AIDS. Despite including fairly significant names from the alternative and independent space, every artist involved in the recording process was selflessly devoted to the noble cause. When Beggars Group (the record company hosting the album) asked what sort of compensation each artist was looking for, producer Aaron Dressner was quoted by Billboard as saying “A lot of the artists wouldn’t take the money…Beggars (Group) agreed to be really transparent about how it’s done, so as much money flows to the charity side as possible.” The album eventually raised close to $2 million for charity, solidifying that actions speak louder than words even if those words are sung by premier musicians.