Angels & Airwaves might not be as familiar to most readers who came of age in the mid-2000s, but this song was definitely on repeat for me back then. Like “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John, I first discovered it through Gossip Girl. Don’t “@ me”: it might have been a trashy show, but it had an excellent soundtrack!
If the vocals here sound familiar, it’s because Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 is the lead singer. He has an inimitable way of warping words by stretching them out or curving them. This affectation is much more subtle than in, say, “All the Small Things,” but comes out in the chorus, especially when he sings “And now/I’ll stop the storm if you wish/I’ll light a path far from here…”
I like the lyrics of “The Gift” because it’s an odd sort of love song. It seems to describe love at first sight, but doesn’t come out and say it directly. “And suddenly,/You’ve done it all,/You’ve won me over/In no time at all.” We’ll never know what the titular “gift” is – it’s as mysterious as what Billy Joel is looking for in “The River Of Dreams.” I don’t even have theories about it. Maybe that’s part of what makes this song so compelling; everyone can create their own interpretations.
Instrumentally, “The Gift” opens in a really lovely way. It’s kind of suspended, with fast-moving synths underneath that quickly move into guitar lines. The guitar kicks up into the chorus; less strong than in DeLonge’s other efforts, but certainly an echo of it. Then, at the end, it fades into a punch, cushioned by those suspended synths. There’s something satisfying about songs that close that neatly.