Nobody does double albums like Over the Rhine. Their 2003 magnum opus, Ohio, is one of the best records of the 21st century. Married couple Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler consistently deliver good music album after album, and in terms of quality, Meet Me at the Edge of the World is no different. Nor is it a surprise when the new album is a double. For fans of the band, it’s like finding out that twins are on the way. What’s different about this record is the tone.
Meet Me at the Edge of the World is unique in that it feels a bit like the listener is an intruder, eavesdropping on something special. The audience is somehow a witness to a great love story. These songs are intimate and quiet. They’re love songs written and sung by Detweiler and Bergquist to each other, and most importantly, for each other.
With Meet Me at the Edge of the World, Over the Rhine tells you exactly what you’re going to get, straight from the opening title track. It begins with a quiet guitar and lyrics like “Is it time to disappear?/ Oh babe, can we just get out of here?/ You and me love, and no one near/ Walk me to the edge of the world.”
Yet more than your average love song, these are songs about having found true contentment in each other. They are songs about home and peace and the mundane, about having found the beauty and wildness of life with each other. In “Called Home,” they sing, “Leave behind your Sunday best/ You know we couldn’t care less/ Out here we’ve learned to leave the edges wild.”
That being said however, these are still love songs. They’re tender, sweet, soft and lovely. More than that, the tracks cut to the core of their relationship. Take “I’d Want You”, in which Karin sings “If the music all went still/ Enabling all my fears to come true/ I’d want you/ I’d want you.” And perhaps the best song on the album is, appropriately, sung by both husband and wife. In “Earthbound Love Song,” they compare themselves to Johnny and June Carter Cash and sing, “Some questions cannot be answered/ Who’s gonna bury who?/ We need a love like Johnny/ Johnny and June.”
If Meet Me has a sin, it’s the sin of lust. Bergquist and Detweiler can’t seem to get enough of each other, and as such, the record feels a little long and repetitive. It’s difficult to sit through all nineteen songs on this album in one sitting, simply because it gets (musically and thematically) a bit tired.
But what makes Meet Me at the Edge of the World special is that it’s unapologetic in its nature. It’s an album full of love songs and it makes no bones about it. It’s that commitment that allows such a deep resonance in the listener as the soundtrack of a love, hard fought and won.