Stars Write What They Know: Patricia Highsmith

If there’s one thing Canadian quintet Stars has been able to do for the entire duration of its 10-year run it’s make us sigh wistfully over beautifully crafted lyrics and gorgeous, blooming melodies. Since 2007’s In Our Bedroom After The War, the band members (many of whom moonlight as Broken Social Scene players) scattered for a while to work on some very un-Stars-like solo and side projects. However, rest assured that just-released fifth full-length, The Five Ghosts (Vagrant/Soft Revolution), is Stars still being heartbreakingly Stars, with an underlying theme of mortality featuring lyrics that focus on love in a “til death do us part” kind of way. Prepare to swoon when you see them play the album live on their tour of Europe and North America this fall. Evan Cranley, Torquil Campbell, Amy Millan, Chris Seligman and Patrick McGee are guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with Cranley.


Torquil: Patricia Highsmith is, in my opinion, the greatest suspense writer ever. And the single biggest influence on my lyrics. Born in conservative rural Texas, she spent most of her life in self-imposed exile in Switzerland. Not only did she write many great novels of psychological suspense, she also wrote (under a pseudonym) a few lesbian romances in the ’50s. Her books capture the underlying dread of suburban America, and by making her protagonists the criminals themselves, she gives you a terrifying glimpse into the banality of evil: how it creeps up our green lawns, through our French doors and into our hearts.