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Pedro the Lion, 'First Drum Set'

The moment a young musician selects an instrument can feel like life or death, with a lifetime of possibilities on the line. Pedro the Lion's "First Drum Set" builds an emotional rollercoaster of reeds and sticks, where a young David Bazan, with '80s movie-inspired saxophone dreams in his head, is turned down by a band director overwhelmed by students sharing Bazan's preference. Teary, on the verge of breaking down, a new path appears: an opening for a drummer. The sullen tune bursts to life as Bazan is whisked away into a world of rhythms and beats and the joyful physicality of music, where he goes to "play sports about my feelings / being in my body, not my head." The line that follows presents the song's crux, a sentiment the fellow drummer writing this shares: "It still sets my heart a-reeling / I would already be dead without my first drum set."

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