Saturday, February 24, 2007
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
So, yeah, usually when there's some album that came out a few months ago that I think is awesome, even if all the songs rule and listening to it gives me a full-on robot chubby, I'm still hardly convinced that I'll be listening to it years or, hell, months from that particular time. I mean, shit, there's no benefit of history or anything. You're judging this shit as it's happening, it's not like you picked it up because someone was like, "This shit came out in 1988, and it STILL sounds like you're beating off in Western Civ. for the first time!"
Not that new music is crap or anything. I just can't help but have a different sort of perspective on it. I look at my list of the best albums of '06, and there's 50 albums on there. 50 albums from 2006 that I really enjoyed in 2006 enough to think a lot about how good they make me feel when I listen to them. But, shit, there must be a ton of total crap records from 20 years ago that no one has thought about since then, right? I mean, whose gonna give a shit about the Holy Smokes or Grizzly Bear in 2027? Not that it matters now, but I'm just sayin'. I'm not particularly head-over-heels in love with either of those bands, but even a lot of my favorite new shit at the moment... there are albums from my '05 top 20 that I haven't listened to once since making that list. There are records that I would have put higher on the list, and records that weren't on the list that I would put on if I made the list now, etc.
All that said, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jay Reatard's Blood Visions will go down in history as one of the greatest albums of all-time. Here is a pop-punk album that has been brilliantly assembled by one dude playing all the instruments who has some absolutely insane talent for pulling catchy-as-shit punk rock anthems out of his ass that express both a knowledge of and love for the music at hand.
I mean, shit, THESE SONGS ARE AWESOME! I am a horrible writer by most people's standards, I will admit that. All I do is make hyperbolic statements about how awesome I think everything is. That's not what writing is, is it? It's supposed to be a bunch of intellectual boring shit, supposedly. Sorry, I'm here to spread the word of Jay Reatard's brilliance, not to convince you of my intelligence. "My Shadow" would have been one of the best songs on Singles Going Steady. "Greed, Money, Useless Children" is just the best Crass/Flux of Pink Indians/peace-punk tribute/parody that I've ever heard. This album is way better than Pink Flag.
Remember when Andrew W.K. came out with I Get Wet, and he was on the cover and he was covered in blood like Jay Reatard on the cover of this album, and people didn't know if he was serious or not, and he got written off as a novelty by some? People failed to realize is that W.K.'s music wasn't just pure smirking irony, nor was he a genuine and oblivious "IT'S TIME TO PARTY" cock rocker. No, like the similarly written off Ween, W.K.'s Sparks/Journey/Meat Loaf/Jock Jams hybrid stemmed from both his good humour and his love for the music that he was paying tribute to. Of course, the reason why I can identify with Andrew's music better than Journey's is not because I can only listen to big dumb arena rock when it's done in some all-irony hipster manner, but because I share W.K.'s perspective of being an observer of said music. Despite producing some truly amazing songs, bands like Journey and Boston probably didn't see the humour in their music, album covers, or in the way that they presented themselves. I can't even begin to think of what was going on in their heads, but I'm fascinated by the motivations behind their music, which I enjoy.
I just listened to Anthem For A New Tomorrow by Screeching Weasel. It's not my favorite Screeching Weasel record. A lot the songs are just Screeching Weasel by numbers, with nowhere near the amount of melodic brilliance as the best songs on My Brain Hurts or even the poppier moments on Boogadaboogadaboogada!. I'm guessing that a lot of Screeching Weasel fans at the time loved the album because they like fast, sugary, goofy pop-punk. The things that I demand from the music are different from theirs. They're not gonna give a shit that I'm complaining about the melodies not standing out. The perspective of Jay's music is something that I can more easily relate to. He's smart and he likes punk rock, and Blood Visions is his tribute to the history of said genre. I hear a song like "Greed, Money, Useless Children" and go, "Ah, yes, this sounds like Crass... hee, hee! Jay Reatard does these little things in his songs that make me smile because I understand the things that he's referencing." I'm a punk rock fan, Jay is a punk rock fan... but we're not crusty dudes with Germs burns. We love the stuff, but we also see the humour in it. Who knows if this album will appeal to the smelly guy with Discharge and A Global Threat patches all over his jacket? Maybe the diversity of the songs will throw him off, but it's something that I can appreciate. And I'm glad for that.
Song: "Not A Substitute"... shit. So fucking good.