The closeness of Aidan Saunders’ “Tourist” is intoxicating. It’s like slipping into a dream where all of the harsh edges of reality have been sanded off and things move slowly, with care.
“Tourist”’s striking opacity — made with the steady moans of a guitar and synth, the warm tinkles of a Rhodes piano, and what sounds like a clarinet — heightens the suffocation that Saunders sings of. Fear, it seems, has led him to become immobile, detached, and uncertain about where to go next: “These past few days have felt like years,” he sings. But in the final few seconds of the song, in his last breath before the instrumentals softly fade away, Saunders sings: “But now the air has cleared.”
It’s an unexpected ending but one that is wholly welcome. Instead of being jolted from slumber, drenched in a panicked sweat, you are gently nudged awake by a loved one. Everything is going to be okay.