Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hello Young Lovers (2006)

"HOLY FUCKING SHIT," is about all you can say here--the notion that a band this venerable could experience such a monumental return to form seems laughable; a self-serving fantasy--but the proof is in the FUCKING AWESOME pudding, as they say. Do they say that? They should. There is one song here that is less than sensational, and "The Very Next Fight" is still good, and quite interesting lyrically; it's just…a shade weaker than everything else. Everything else is goddamn GREAT, starting with the opening single "Dick Around;" everyone who hears it for the first time EVER will compare it to "Bohemian Rhapsody;" fair enough, but the resemblance, when you get down to it, is mostly superficial--a song with a bunch of different parts. Dude. How the HELL does a band that's been around so long sound so totally self-assured? Chronicling the aftermath of a breakup with a torrential outpouring of words and music, in the most offbeat, awesome way possible. You gotta hear it.

That's the most immediately memorable track, but the whole thing is awesome. I love the hell out of the call-and-response on "Metaphor" ("Are you chicks up for a metaphor?" "Yes, we're up for a metaphor!" "Don't don't don't don't mix them!" "We wouldn't dream of mixing them"--I think Thomas Friedman needs to hear this song). I love the absolute emotional brutality on display in "Waterproof" ("I see you crying/But I'm not buying/Your Meryl Streep mimickry"). I love--obviously--the jaundiced, Sparksified take on patriotism in "(Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country?" I love the way "Rock, Rock, Rock" rocks, rocks, rocks. I love the increasingly panicked crescendo of "There's No Such Thing as Aliens." I love the way the epic closer "As I Sit Down to Play the Organ at the Notre Dame Cathedral" reminds me of The Recognitions for absolutely no reason other than the fact that that novel does indeed end in a French cathedral. And since I've listed most of the songs and I realize if I leave a few out it will seem as though I'm doing it for a reason, I should clarify that I also love the hypnotic "Perfume" (from which I learned that there's an actual perfume called "Opium"--that must lead to some wacky sitcom-type mix-ups) and the intoxicatingly strange "Here Kitty."

Basically, the whole album is fucking great. I use the word "fucking" because I am linguistically impoverished, perhaps. But it just seems like it has to be done, in this case. Fucking! Great! End! Of! Fucking! Story! Fucking!

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