Spectacular Views

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Spectacular Views

San Diego, California - Shore cliffs.jpg

A cliff face along the coastline near San Diego, California.

Artist Rilo Kiley
Published 2002-10-??
Composer Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett
Genre Indie rock
Themes Introspection, Profound, Raw relationships
Rating Rating-8.svg

Spectacular Views is an indie rock song by Rilo Kiley and is the 11th track on The Execution of All Things, released in October 2002. It was composed by Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett.

On the album recording, Lewis sings vocals, plays keyboard, and the Rhodes piano, Sennett plays electric guitar and sings backup vocals, Pierre de Reeder plays bass, and Jason Boesel plays drums.

The song describe a couple walking along the coast and looking at a picturesque palisade (a large cliff face). Since the composers are Californians, this is probably a reference to one of the many palisades along the California coastline, probably around Los Angeles. Lewis also references mountains in two other songs on the same album, With Arms Outstretched and My Slumbering Heart.


I first heard this song after getting The Execution of All Things. I don't remember if I adored it right away, but I quickly gained a strong appreciation for it. The up-tempo music has a lot of energy and makes a nice contrast with the drawn-out lyrics. Although the instrumentation is a bit of a jumble, the variety keeps the song interesting. I like the synthesizer, Blake's solo, and the strange indistinct singing in the background at the end of the song. However, I don't care much for the high-pitch squealing before the last verse.

My take on the lyrics is that Jenny is describing a date she had where she invited someone for a walk along the coastline to look at the palisades. She loves them because they cause her to think about deep time (ages pass / shells and bits of bone / formin' new limestone / to give things their turn) and the profoundness of it all (indifferent / but distanced perfectly / projected endlessly / it's so fucking beautiful). However, the walk doesn't seem to evoke the same emotions in her date who wonders if they'll ever be happy. This seems to be because he instead gets happy about things like busy parking lots and waiting in long lines.

I especially love that this song focuses on the feeling of profoundness, a feeling to which I can certainly relate. I especially love the line, "it's so fuckin' beautiful!" which really captures the emotion.


In steep cliffs,
Rocks all piled up,
Mysteries of yer passing luck.

Ages pass,
Shells and bits of bone.
Formin' new limestone,
To give things their turn.

There are no,
Bad words,
For the coast,

You never knew,
Why you felt so good,
In the strangest of,

Like in waiting rooms,
Or long lines that made you late,
Or mall parking lots,
On holidays.

There are no,
Bad words,
For the coast,

When we hold,
Our breath,
Until nothing's left,
It all starts to fade.

We can see the stars,
From where the birds make their homes,
Starin' back at us.

But distanced perfectly,
Projected endlessly.
It's so fuckin' beautiful!

There are no,
Bad words,
For the coast,

Then you ask,
"What's a palisade?"
And if we're too late,
For happiness?


Album version.
Live at The Republic, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2007-10-04.
Live in Chicago, Illinois - 2005-05-16.
Live in Baltimore, Maryland - 2002-11-05.