Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ruining it for you

Because I'm in a foul mood, thought I'd talk smack about two albums I've only given the most cursory listens. First, what's up with the new ultra shitty Stephen Malkmus cd? Ugly falsettos, bland and uncatchy tunes, swarmy lyrics about the role of art in society, and basically a repudiation of everything that made Pavement seem important. It's a quirky album where the quirks themselves are the be-all and end-all. Like Ween, but less funny. Although give the man this: it's definitely a departure. If someone played me these tracks blindfolded, I would never guess Malkmus. Well, maybe, if it was one of the tunes that contained his trademark nonsequitars, although the elliptical lyrics here seem more like jokey self-parodies. Or if it was one of the two tunes that sound like under-rehearsed outtakes from Pig Lib. And what's up with the title? Face the Truth? Which is what, exactly? That this once Major Dude now sounds like a decidely minor artist?

And while I'm bashing reputations, let's heap some scorn on the new Spoon. Gimme Fiction is a fine title and in fact all the songs contained therein are well-crafted and high quality. So well-crafted and high quality that the first half of the album nearly drove me into a stupor. No, the drummer isn't playing the exact same numbing midtempo beat for the first five songs, it just feels like it. And no, there's nothing wrong with smart lyrics, Beatlesque harmonies, and spiky guitar outbursts - but this go round the songs feel so carefully wrought that they lack for nothing except excitement. Admittedly, things pep up during the second half with the jumping "Sister Jack" and anthemic "Never Got You." But from the band that made Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight, you have a right to expect more than mere craft. On the opening tune Britt Daniels sings how "he's been landlocked too long." Later he promises "I'm going back to the water" - but if he made it, he's too stingy to offer his fans more than the smallest sip of what he found there.


Blogger Prof. Drew LeDrew said...

Ruin it, fine, but share the non-wealth with a couple of links, at least.

10:41 PM  
Blogger badger said...

wow. the contempt for Face the Truth among some Malkmus loyalists has me taken by surprise. I sincerely love this album (and have always loathed Ween.) i'm wondering what i'm missing in not getting disgusted by this record. Favorite Malkmus since BtC for me.

Dead on with you on the new Spoon though.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Chilly Jay Chill said...

I may yet change my mind on the Malk - it took me a number of spins to get into Wowee Zowee which is now my fave Pavement. But I dunno. Curious what you like about it.

3:22 PM  

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