Thursday, November 12, 2009
like a wrecking ball
Sufjan Stevens - The BQE Soundtrack (listen) I put this on yesterday evening while waiting for the bus and thought about the usual criticisms that get lobbed his way - too naive, too complicated, too coy - and mentally was defending young Stevens. Leave him alone! This kid has the genius about him! His accomplishments are bigger than your wants, silly complainer! The first movement of this suite about the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is a thick luminous textural plane, built on Henry Purcell chords and a few nights with the keys to one's Casio taped down just to see what it does to you. It builds up the same way a hill does through eons of sediment deposit, shaped by wind. Beautiful. then the second movement came on and sounded similar, but richer, like Arvo Pärt's infinite sadness, coloring the lifeless parking lot I was crossing with a a blood red hue. Then the third came one just the same way, and I though OK, Sufjan enough, I get it, you discovered La Monte Young. Where's that zany cartoon music of yours? You are totally losing me here. It was then I realized I had the iPhone on "song repeat."
Yes - The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (listen) This is likely as close to the bone as you'll find in a Yes recording and it only makes the thing all the more unbelievable. Five guys sat in a room with a bunch of gear in 1970 and pulled this dense monstrosity off? It would be like sitting at the bar next to a guy who absently whips up a working Swiss watch from scratch while he talks to you.
Rod Stewart - The Rod Stewart Album (listen) Rod Stewart has always had a singular knack for embodying someone else's song for both the better and worse at the same time. It's like a wrecking ball that feels bad about the mess and tries to nudge all the pieces of the building back together.
Guy Clark - Cold Dog Soup (listen) And then some guys can write the shit out of a song built solely on other songs and the myths of other songwriters, and then top it all with "cold dog soup and rainbow pie."