Glen Hansard's career includes a brilliant quarter-century with his rock band The Frames, a fruitful foray into statelier folk-pop with The Swell Season and, most recently, a pair of elegant, deliberately paced solo albums. It's been a remarkable career so far, and its highest point — again, so far — came when Hansard and Swell Season partner Markéta Irglová won an Oscar for "Falling Slowly," their signature song from the 2007 film Once.
In other words, it's worth noting when Hansard writes a song for a movie. "Are You Getting Through" plays over the closing credits to The Journey, a forthcoming dramatic comedy about an unlikely peace agreement forged in Northern Ireland between two former enemies: politician and religious leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness. (Speaking of awards pedigrees, the rest of The Journey's music is by Stephen Warbeck, who wrote the Oscar-winning score for Shakespeare In Love.)
Predicting the Oscars' Best Original Song category is a crapshoot — especially this early in the year — but "Are You Getting Through" is a gorgeous Hansard ballad worth filing away for awards season. The singer has made a specialty of this sort of string-swept ode to perseverance, and "Are You Getting Through" only gets richer and grander as it goes along.
"When I was asked to contribute [to the film], I felt very strongly about approaching it on a human level," Hansard writes via email. "It's such a huge political and religious divide. The script was great. For the film, I wanted to pull the song into a place that suited my impression of Paisley as a community elder and McGuinness' empathy — the humanity of what they were undertaking."
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