I eased myself into the high passenger seat of a large white suburban. We were men on a mission to see a brick building of interest. The driver, whose quirky personality is difficult for me to figure out, starts up the engine. (I imagine others find it as difficult to see what lies beneath this skull of mine, but he is quicker to smile, laugh, and empathize and thus is seemingly more easy to be with.) Several notes come out of the stereo system, and another man in the back asks excitedly, “Is that the Avett Brothers?” Driver answers in the affirmative, that indeed it is the Avett Brothers. “I knew there was a reason I liked you,” back seat passenger conveys the message of an instant manly bond of music. I take note of band and catch some notes of note, then take some mental notes for later perusal of agreed upon bonding band.
Some days later my wife presents to me a late birthday gift of an itunes card worth, (drumroll please) twenty-five dollars! I haven’t had money for itunes since I wrote my last album review dated May 8th. I figure that an album review here to be forthcoming and begin the search for what to buy… what to buy. I instantly remember the band that brought about the bond that I so much like to experience, of which I semi-wrote about on that one site SIR page. I sent a message to back passenger asking them to remind me of band, then checked them out. Well, they were okay. Not necessarily my style, more on the easy country/rock. My country and/or country rock demands more of a hook and less of, hmmm… shall I say mainstreamism?
I flashed back to my appreciation of 80’s thrash metal, and found nothing that made me want to buy. It is very hard to buy an album when you rarely get the funds to go for it, after all there is so much to choose from and where do you go? Do you pick from your past? Do you go for the stuff you received some moderately impressed praise for having and finding some more of the stuff? Do you go for something new that itunes may recommend? Last time I asked for recommends, I got a lot of no responses or stuff that I wasn’t nearly interested in. Then I remember a song that I first experienced while browsing the net. It showed a kid and his response to a song and the lack thereof. Very funny video, and the song got stuck in my head. The way the kid reacts is the way I am when it comes to music: if it makes me move, I like it.
I found the song and the album, then listened to the samples. It didn’t thrill me right away, but then I remembered how I use to have to work hard to like an album; listening to it over and over again, so it’d grow on me and it became part of me and I could sing it on a whim. Now wait a sec, you may think that I was forcing myself to like something just because others liked it and I could… bond with them? Nothing could be farther from the truth. It wasn’t that I didn’t hate it and forced myself, but that I knew it had potential to move me. I love music, I just don’t connect immediately with the specific sound. Like when your friend posts a video of a guy doing the guitar rhythm to an old song that you liked way back when and says to check out the fret work, you suddenly realize that you never really heard the instruments separately, but always as a whole. You never fully realized the work and talent that went into such simple melodies, and how beautiful each part can be on its own. My goodness! How perspectives can change in an instance. Music is the stuff that shows us how beautiful a gift God gave us when it comes to hearing. Alas, like so many other good gifts given us, we make it ugly and spiteful. Yet I suppose that is a part of human existence too.
Back to the review at hand. Since this is a review of an album I don’t have much of a history with, I don’t know it totally in and out, but will give my initial reactions to each song.
Dog Days Are Over: This is the song that I referred to earlier. Great, haunting, lively intro. Her voice instantly takes me in. Love the deep tones and then ukulele(?). Clapping hands and tambourines and a harp builds up the crescendo to the chorus. With pauses in the middle and strong come backs. This is a great song to jump up and down to and sway in melody.
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up): This one could be on the extreme, alternate, late-night, weekend playing Christian music station. It is a song about offering, sacrifice, change, gifts. Don’t misunderstand, it is not a Christian band as you will soon see, and this is not a Christian song, it just has a great spiritual presence and the beautiful melody will have you swaying.
I’m Not Calling You a Liar: The Machine seems to rely a lot upon the light instrument, harps, cymbals, tambourines. They have great harmony together, and this one showcases that. It is about love and how hard it is to give your heart, it is like dying.
Howl: This one, might be the first to delete. It is a good song, but the lyrics don’t impress me. I do lie more on the puritan side of things when it comes to the gift of relationship God gave man and woman, and this one is just to feral for my tastes.
Kiss With a Fist: Okay, this one is the first I’ll delete. All I here is violence and mutual domestic abuse. In fact it is already gone.
Girl With One Eye: Three songs in a row to delete? This isn’t going so well… but it does get better.
Drumming Song: Another song that I just love her voice. More crashing sounds in this one than usual. It does sound like she is a bit crazy as she tries religion and suicide(seemingly) to rid herself of the drumming. But it is just another one about love and how the emotions inside take over when you see the one you love, the passion is seemingly out of control.
Between Two Lungs: Words and their effect on you? Meh… just doesn’t roll out the barrel, if you know what I mean.
Cosmic Love: Another great one, gotta say her voice is just amazing, they don’t need all the heavy instruments. This one though, reminds me that it should come with a warning that Paul McCartney knew how to do. “You’d think that people would have Had enough of silly love song But I look around me and I see it isn’t so Some people wanna fill the world With silly love songs And what’s wrong with that? I’d like to know ‘Cause here I go again.” Okay! I get it. You’re a woman with strong emotions. I guess this is your outlet. Many a great artist creates out of pain. Here is what I’m going to imagine it as: End of the world, deep in the darkness, with only one person… to face the end of the world.
My Boy Builds Coffins: This one is my favorite so far. Just check out these lyrics: “My boy builds coffins with hammers and nails He doesn’t build ships, he has no use for sails He doesn’t make tables, dressers or chairs He can’t carve a whistle cause he just doesn’t care
My boy builds coffins for the rich and the poor Kings and queens have all knocked on his door Beggars and liars, gypsies and thieves They all come to him ’cause he’s so eager to please My boy builds coffins he makes them all day But it’s not just for work and it isn’t for play He’s made one for himself One for me too One of these days he’ll make one for you For you For you For you.” Those are enough for the price of admission. Yes! A song about dying… Wait, what? All these have something about dying in them. This one is different though. Check it out.
Hurricane Drunk: Women have emotions on a level way beyond the average male, and this one is no exception. This time her emotions are carrying her away like a hurricane. Again, this sounds like something that could be on the alt, alt, alt Christian music station. Just sayin’.
Blinding: A more somber and dark one then the usual lighter ones. Heavy drumbeats mark its entry. She cries out, “No more dreaming like a girl.” Apparently dreaming about the love she has always sought, but then she awakens from the fantasy because she kills someone. Just kidding, she doesn’t kill anyone. But there is something deeper here, perhaps the way we now seek out love? Ugh, my manliness is starting to kick in the gag reflexes to upchuck all this emotion about love and stuff… Let’s look at the last one.
You’ve Got the Love: Wait, this one has “love” in the title. Okay, hold up again. I’m going to say that this one is truly about God. Forget about the fact that all these others are about the pain love brings, or the emotions that destroy from unrequited love or relationships that are just physical, or death and dying from poetic broken hearts. This one is about a love that will never let you down. A love that you really need, a love that picks you up. And listen to the harp this time, it sounds like an angel in heaven is playing it. In the end it all comes down to going back to God; He’ll never let you down. At least that is what I’m going with.
Hmm… Maybe this is why I rarely bond with people over music anymore.