Andrew Bird’s latest single from last year’s Inside Problems is accompanied by an extended, alternate arrangement called “Never Fall Apart: Epilogue,” available now.
Bird says, “Back from the brink we may have pulled ourselves back together (though tenuously) for the moment. I recorded ‘Epilogue’ outside in Ojai, CA in January of 2021 for a documentary about news deserts in rural America. I felt I captured something that’s hard to nail because I was playing only for myself. I just happened to be recording. So I sang the lyrics to never fall apart over it, giving the song a different dimension.”
Sophie Allison says this song “felt really easy + honest for me as soon as I wrote it. It uses this idea of an old truck to kind of compare this feeling of aging too fast. There’s also these glimpses of light and freedom from something as simple as the wind in your hair making you feel alive.”
It’s kind of a bummer how much time we spend worrying about aging too fast. Young people, grownups, doesn’t matter. Seems everybody is afraid they’re getting old.
And I’ve got a heart that beats too fast
And a shake in my hands and a pain in my back
And I’m just twenty-two going on twenty-three
Already worn down from everything.
The video is a charming vignette of suburban youth with Allison driving around the neighborhood and then cosplaying with a sword and a helmet in a field. Like you do.
Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. From Inside Problems, out now on Loma Vista.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I kind of hate Andrew Bird because he’s so good looking. And talented. And cool. It’s not fair. Felt the same way about Chris Isaak. But that’s a “me” problem. It’s not his fault he’s got it all.
Bird says this new song is about “digesting images from historic events and constituting a narrative for your memory. ‘Tell us what you think you saw. Make a picture.’ We saw a lot of horror and darkness and a lot of inspiring bravery. So, what’s the story we tell after digesting? What’s the synapses’ synopsis?”
And clever. Jerk.
Don’t you know that I’m an irrepressible optimist
Working with a fatal flaw
Running in the streets
Like feral cats will be hard to miss
Take a knee and raise a paw.
The video is a combination of implied gore and herding oversized cats. In a fair world, this would go viral. The internet loves cats! And extracting film stock from your veins. Right?
Animation by Chris McD. From Daddy’s Home, out May 14 on Loma Vista.
The latest St. Vincent videos aren’t doing the songs any favors. Do we need to be bashed over the head with the pastiche gimmick? No, we do not.
The songs are cool and they sound great. Those tones and instrument choices are timeless. The drum sound on this new single is huge and moving. The Wurlitzer electric piano will never go out of style. The electric sitar, on the other hand, is a little goofy, but it’s a lot worse when you hear it while you’re watching this corny video. We get it. Seventies. Fine. Got it. Whatever.
Seeing this song performed on Saturday Night Live was a revelation about how this material can be presented without the cheese. Yes, Annie Clark is still wearing that terrible wig and is dressed like a prostitute in an exploitation film, but this time she looks cool. Not silly. Cool. She proves she can still pull off an interesting visual theme without merely relying on hackneyed cliches about the 70s. She’s immersing herself in those accoutrements in order to mess with us, like when David Bowie dressed up like a clown forty years ago and scared the shit out of America.
So yeah. More art, hold the cheese, please.
Especially since “The Melting Of The Sun” is such a cool song. Clark described it to Rolling Stone as “a love letter to strong, brilliant female artists. Each of them survived in an environment that was in a lot of ways hostile to them.” The lyrics specifically namecheck Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and Nina Simone. I just don’t get why you’d want to blunt the message with a dopey video that looks like a combination of Schoolhouse Rock and the Teletubbies.
A new St. Vincent release is always exiting. Like, what’s she going to do to freak people out this time? You might have expected her to capitalize on the breakthrough success of 2017’s Masseduction by doing more of the same, but that doesn’t appear to be the direction she’s heading.
No more primary colored, robotic futurism. “Pay Your Way In Pain” is a funky jam about feeling rejected and wanting to be loved, and it’s our first peak into the world of Daddy’s Home. The album was inspired by “the vinyl her dad had introduced her to during her childhood. […] Music made in sepia-toned downtown New York from 1971-1975. Gritty. Grimy. Sleazy.”
Maybe, but the look of the video has more of a “Fantasy Island” dream sequence vibe and her styling is giving me flashbacks to “Love Boat.” So I don’t know. It’s not reading as gritty or grimy. But still: exciting and new.
To go along with the whole 70s show, the album is available on eight-track. And to think some people scoffed at the kids getting back into cassettes!
Directed by Simon Taylor. From Free, out now on Loma Vista.
I wonder if Iggy Pop was inspired by a recent episode of “Jeopardy” in which all three of the contestants tried and failed to remember the exact wording of the first line of this Dylan Thomas villanelle. Probably not, but who knows? This reading comes from Ig’s 2019 album, Free.
It’s a classic poem about getting old and kicking the bucket, and the older you get the more powerfully it speaks to you.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I think I first heard it via an inappropriately jaunty version by fellow Welshman John Cale that my homie PLP was prone to including on mixtapes for a while there in the beginning of the 90s. Maybe I read it in school before that but I doubt it. We didn’t cover a lot of poetry in my suburban Michigan high school. The Cale version is goofy yet still pretentious enough to ruin the vibe of any mixtape.
Iggy’s version is appropriately morbid and defiant. It’s also helped by its brevity, under two minutes long.
Dylan Thomas died in 1953 at 39. He drank himself to death. So he never even got to see the old age he wrote so eloquently about.
That’s true. Look around. Why else would a bunch of otherwise sane people risk their health to go out to a bar and drink with people whose very breath might contain invisible droplets of a virus for which there is still no known treatment? It’s tough out there.
The film crew on this video, though, knows a thing or two about resposnsibility:
“We bought a cheap ’80s travel trailer with a bathroom, kitchen, and a propane powered refrigerator, so we wouldn’t have to go inside anywhere for food or bathrooms. We were able to abide by the 6-feet social distance CDC recommendation as we set up a remote head for the camera that we operated from a closet outside of the room. We wore masks the entire time and Margo supplied us with multiple bottles of hand sanitizer and spiked seltzers. We parked our RV in her driveway and worked solely out of there and the room we were filming in. We wanted to speak to what was going on at that moment, to a world that was/is shut down, to the fear we all feel, and to the hope of breaking free.”
Hey didn’t Coldplay already write this song? Are the contrarian kids giving Coldplay a critical re-evaluation already? Or am I just being an ass?
I’m probably being an ass, since Sophie Allison says the song “was inspired by a time when I was on the road constantly and I felt like I was losing time—specifically with my mother. It’s also a song that I feel really showcases my writing when it comes to instrumentation, so it’s one that makes me really proud.”
Aw jeez, listening more closely and the lyrics are clearly about losing her mom so now I’m definitely an ass.
The tiny lie I told to myself is making me hollow
I’ve been choking on truths that I couldn’t swallow
But at least we no longer have to worry about the kids starting to like Coldplay. It’s still okay to hate them, right?