12 Days of Apologies – Day 7 – Shine A Light

Track 7 on Apologies To The Queen Mary is Shine A Light

Here is Part 7 of my talk with Dan about the recording of ‘Apologies’. Stay tuned for two more chapters from our talk, where Dan tells me about the inspiration behind his tracks from the record.

After we left the session (in Portland) they lost the multitrack version of Shine a Light. So when we got back to Montreal there was no Shine a Light. We had recorded Killing Armies and Shine a Light around the same time and I believe those are on the missing reels. We never got those reels back. So we had to re-record Shine A Light in Montreal. The existing version of that song is recorded on a Mac G-3 with a couple SM 57 mics and Tim Kingsbury playing bass. The version of Shine a Light that came out is not the studio version. We recorded it at our jam space on home recording equipment basically and just slotted it in with the record. Disco Sheets was also recorded this way.


Here’s an early version from the CBC Radio 3 session:


Josh O’Kane, reporter for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, submitted an incredible essay about Shine A Light. You can read the full entry on the Shine A Light page.

I still remember the first time I heard “Shine a Light.” I’d gotten a copy of Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary, and inexcusably slept on it for a while – I seem to do that with every album that becomes an all-time favourite – but when iTunes shuffled into this song sometime in 2006, I was floored. The opening riff is pure joy; what could it bring? A flood of synths, for one, then words more defiant than they first seem: Dan Boeckner doesn’t sleep ‘til it’s light; whiles away in an office tower; slogs away on public transit as he heads home to his loved one. Spencer Krug’s backing vocals kick in, no consonants, just sound, a synth of their own. Boeckner admits to waiting on something that’ll never arrive; but then, as Krug’s rejoicing vocals chug along, Boeckner builds another world instead of ceding control.


Official video created by Matt Moroz


This cover of Shine A Light by Adam Franklin of Swervedriver is so beautiful. You can buy it on 7″ here.


"Shine a Light" by #wolfparade

A photo posted by Abby (@iamhermes) on


Check out all the fan inspired videos, photos, and writing on the main Shine A Light page.