<= 2002.05.16

2002.05.21 =>

the music issue

My God but we need a Zoloft clock for the Workshop building, pronto.

No One Will Ever Love You (mp3, 1.73 mB) is my favorite of the 69 Love Songs—more cleverly constructed than the starkness of its title would suggest. I'm not actually that upset, but a pall of melancholy has coalesced over everything here. We all have our private sadnesses, but beyond that everything is coming to an end, even for those who aren't leaving Iowa right away. To stay and to go are both upsetting, in their own ways.

I. Loneliness.
II. Always, always, always fighting to keep your head above water.

I would like to think that those two, which right now seem like defining factors, might come to an end someday. I suppose that other problems would simply rise up, Loch-Ness-monster-like, to replace them.

The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious. Okay, we all read the New Yorker article about these guys and the Strokes and the White Stripes, so that now all three bands must forever be mentioned in the same breath. (It's a horrid sign of how dowdy and unhip we've become that this is where we're getting our rock criticism.) The Hives don't have the idiosyncratic personality that I love about the White Stripes—no songs assembled from Citizen Kane lines, no Dutch high-modernist sculpture onstage—but they do turn out entirely reasonable garage punk. I'm going to miss the current tour as a result of flying all over Creation, which is a shame since they must put on a hell of a live show. If you can measure the energy level of a recording by how good it sounds when you're doing the dishes, then this one is off the scale. Especially that song about the metric system, hoo.

Tom Waits, Alice. Reliable as ever. When this man puts out an album, you know what you're getting. Out of his recent work it's the closest to Frank's Wild Years, but with less of a barroom feel. Lots of moody balladry with piano, horns, bass, some light drumming and the signature rough texture (instruments and voice both) that's the auditory equivalent of film grain. "Did you hear the news about Edward? / On the back of his head / He had another face / Was it a woman's face / Or a young girl / They said to remove it would kill him." And who knows what's going on with "Kommienezuspadt": is that German he's singing, or just some kind of idiosyncratic growling?

Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Yes and yes again; it deserves all the press it's been getting, and then some. It's still acoustic and tuneful, but the song structures are no longer assembled in the usual ways and layers upon layers of subtle instrumentation underlie the melodies. Radiohead is the obvious point of reference, but this is less frightening than Radiohead's recent work, largely because of a smattering of well-chosen lines that are just epigrammatic enough to serve as refrains: "Jesus don't cry—you can rely on me honey." "Distance has no way of making love understandable." And the least affected, most moving love lyric I've heard in some time: "I've got reservations about so many things—but not about you." The record is saying things about America, at a time when I wasn't sure that such statements were still possible. More listening is required before I can tell you just what they are.

Metameat will be static for a few days because I have this wedding in Chicago to attend. Be back, say, Tuesday the 21st.


<= 2002.05.16

2002.05.21 =>

up (2002.05)