moonbeam Reviews the New Raveonettes Album

you guys, i’m not sure when it happened, but apparently i work at bollocks! now. i originally thought i was just gonna do the one review, you know, and then chorpenning asked me to help him with that whole twilight singers thing and then i started getting paychecks. that’s why i’ve started putting the name of the blog in stupid bold-face font (and yeah, with the exclamation point, obviously) – it was a compromise. chorpenning said i didn’t have to capitalize the name if i bolded it and put the exclamation point on there. so i did. he’s a pretty lenient boss; we even have optional naked time fridays here, which is just fine by me. now that i have my own desk at bollocks! hq, i feel safer writing about how much i enjoy being naked. nobody here tries to sexually harass me while i’m writing and there’s plenty of tea in the cupboards, especially now that chorpenning’s imaginary secretary is back.

oh shit, i’m rambling. i’m so sorry.

one of my first assignments as an official bollocks! correspondent is to review the new raveonettes album, raven in the grave. i really don’t wanna be rude, but i think i can sum up every review i’ve read of this album by just typing, “blah blah blah dark blah blah blah my bloody valentine blah blah blah shoegaze, blah blah blah dark darky dark dark.” it’s like internet music critics have lost their vocabulary or something.  i saw that mike doughty tweeted the other day that “critics don’t matter” and even though i’m kinda supposed to be one, i really like that.

know what i’ve noticed over the last few years? when people say a work of art is “dark,” they almost always mean it has to do with death. “death” is apparently the darkest thing anyone can think of. and i don’t get why death has to be dark at all, you know? isn’t that why people have religion (contrary to rumors that chorpenning is trying to start about me, i am not wiccan. i kind of worship physics, actually. but that’s a topic for another time) and stuff, to make them feel okay about death?

anyway, raven in the grave is superficially about death and dying, but it feels kind of like an outfit the raveonettes are putting on. i hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, but i mean it in a good way. kind of. i haven’t listened to much of the raveonettes before raven in the grave, but i’ve read that it’s sort of a stylistic shift for them. so one of the first things i thought when i heard songs like “war in heaven” and “apparitions” was, “oh, they changed from whatever style they did before to the cure.” but the cure circa disintegration, not circa 4:13 Dream. so it’s mostly pretty nice.

for one thing, i like that the melodies on raven in the grave aren’t always super obvious. they kind of sneak up on you in places, like sharon foo’s part on “apparitions.” the pitchfork people seemed to really like “forget that you’re young” and i do too, but the melody is really obvious and the song is pretty repetitive.  i was eating pot brownies with one of my friends and we started making up our lines to that song. like “i eat dung/ and i forget that you’re young” or “i order/ and i forget egg foo yung.” it was funnier when we were stoned, okay?

anyway.

“summer moon” is a beautiful song but it kinda drives me crazy because it reminds me of some song i’ve heard before but i can never remember its name. “ignite” is pretty good too, although it makes me wonder who came first: the raveonettes or the pains of being pure at heart? chorpenning says the raveonettes did, so i’ll take his word for it. both bands seem way into eighties pop though, and that’s pretty cool.

can i go back to my stupid “egg foo yung” joke for a second? it’s totally relevant, i swear. as i was typing that, i realized that i’ve listened to raven in the grave like nineteen times (it’s a short album and i can be incredibly focused when i’m eating pot brownies and drinking green tea) and i seem to instinctively tune out the lyrics. there’s some stuff about heaven and rebel angels and rain and evil and death (natch) and… wait a sec! is this what the smiths sounded like? i’ve never listened to them.

i guess what i mean is that raven in the grave works best when you ignore the lyrics and just focus on the super-catchy melodies. “evil seeds” has a dumb title (too harsh? maybe i should’ve said “silly”) but it’s really infectious. chorpenning says that melody can be kind of a trap that way, like you can get fooled into listening to something really stupid just because the melody is pleasing. i kind of see his point. like, you know that coldplay song “fix you?” if you just listened to the melody, you might think it’s this beautiful, triumphant song but then you hear the words and you’re like, “this is a really dumb silly song.” i don’t think raven in the grave is quite at the level of “fix you,” but it does seem to be a lot less deep than it wants you to think it is. i think.

the title seems obvious to me too. like, okay, you’re the raveonettes and you’ve made an album with a bunch of songs about death so you call it raven in the grave. but who has ever buried a raven? don’t they just die on the side of the road or something? i mean, i buried a pet worm once (he was a rescue worm – i stole him off of some hick’s fishing line when i was skinny dipping once in oregon), but not a raven.

anyway. again.

i think it would’ve been cooler if they had called their album edgar allan poetic or maybe just we fucked on a bed of cormac mccarthy novels (while listening to joy division and the cure). 

so i guess i’m saying that edgar allan poetic is pretty okay, which – for me – is not super great. but all right. okay?

moonbeam does not have an email address out of solidarity for starving kids in Africa who “don’t even have time to worry about that shit, man.” As usual, she is deeply sorry if someone had their feelings hurt by what she wrote. She has also asked me to clarify that her scale of album quality ranges from “pretty okay” to “orgasmic.” When pressed for an example of an album she thinks is orgasmic, she mentioned Interstellar Space by John Coltrane and then took a three hour lunch. Stuff like that is precisely why I hired her. 

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