Hunger Of The Pine

Album: This Is All Yours (2014)
Charted: 59
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Songfacts®:

  • The first track to be released from Alt-J's This Is All Yours set has an ethereal vibe. The group's Gus Unger-Hamilton told NPR the song is, "composed entirely of new and spontaneous ideas that arose during writing sessions for the second album. It was written very quickly using some guitar chords and sounds being layered on Ableton, and seemed to signal a bit of a new sound for us."
  • The song finds Joe Newman dourly singing:

    Sleeplessly embracing you
    Realization grew on me, as quickly as it takes your hand
    To warm the cool side of the pillow


    Unger-Hamilton explained to NPR: "The lyrics mainly suggest the idea that missing someone - pining - can be a physical pain much like hunger."
  • The samples Miley Cyrus singing the "I'm a female rebel" line from "4x4," a track off her 2013 Bangerz album. The sample was taken from a remix Alt-J's drummer Thom Green, made for Miley Cyrus around the time the band were writing for This is All Yours. " Joe Newman told DIY Magazine: "When we had established the boundaries of that song, we looked back on the remix because we really liked it, and just that 'I'm a female rebel' [lyric] just came up and I was like, 'I love that line... Can we try using it to see what it sounds like?'"

    "Thom was cool with it and then we got in touch with Miley and she was cool with it," he continued. "For us, it just adds that unexpected element to it."

    Miley Cyrus is a fan of Alt-J's work. She used the band's track "Fitzpleasure"' to soundtrack a video interlude during her worldwide Bangerz Tour.
  • Unger-Hamilton explained the sample to NME: "The original of '4x4' is a jaunty pop song. But putting those five words, 'I am a female rebel' into a different context, they take on a mournful quality; it's almost anguished," he said. "The end result has a Moby/Portishead quality about it. It gave the song an extra kick, like putting whisky in coffee."
  • The song's music video shows a man getting shot by arrows as he runs through a forest. It was directed by Nabil Elderkin from a concept by Alt-J's Joe Newman. Elderkin first came to notoriety as a director through his frequent collaborations with Kanye West. Nabil told Promo News: "I usually don't like to work with a concept that isn't mine it's only the second time I've done this."

    "I had received the song followed by an email with a rough idea from Joe," he continued. "Basically it said 'a young man running through the English countryside getting shot by arrows...' and the simplicity of the idea I really liked. It reminded me of Apocalypto but in an old British setting, which was a nice juxtaposition."
  • Asked by Promo News about the meaning of the runner being attacked by arrows in the video, Nabil replied: "I like to make videos that are open to interpretation. I think that's why the ending is as so, and why we never see who is chasing, or hint at why."
  • The runner in the video is played by professional freerunner Ashley "Spider" Holland. Nabil said: "We originally had a sort of known actor, then something came up with the schedule or something, and it set off a light of doubt I had with just an actor."

    "I thought a parkour guy that could act would be best fit for the demanding and very physical role, so I called my friend Tim and he recommended a friend who was in town - Ashley "Spider" Holland."

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