Explorers and Post
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
When "Fake Empire" was given to The National - by a god or a Santa or a spirit with access to Plato's form world - it was given just as it is, (seeming) flaws and all. It's entirely possible that The National was displeased by the fact that there's something vaguely "Walking in Memphis"-ish about their new song or that the horn section at the end, beautiful as it is, sounds jacked from a late Lionel Richie synth line. Unfortch for the aesthetically particular among the band, there's no room for redaction when you're dealing with a draft from a higher power. God doesn't give you a song for you to fuck it up; he gives it to you for you to release, just as it is, on your indie rock album, where it will outshine a bunch of sadly imperfect, all too human compositions. [Buy]
Tell me that no one ever asked Mickey Mantle what he thought of Roger Maris breaking the single-season home run record in 1961 and I'll have a prolonged laugh at your expense. Why not propose that Thomas Hobbes was never asked about Robert Boyle, or that Admiral Byrd wasn't always hearing questions about Roald Amundsen? I've never heard anything so absurd in my life! If your list of life goals includes and is limited to writing a play that will be immediately received into the canon of absurdist theatre, then here's a piece of invaluable advice: take the line "Admiral Byrd wasn't always hearing questions about Roald Amundsen" and stick it in the middle of "Look Back In Anger." Voila! You can die now. Name one occasion on which Byrd wasn't hearing questions about Amundsen and I'll name one occasion on which I was lied to ( i.e. the very previous moment, when you were speaking).
When whoever it was that asked Marvin Gaye about The Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving" did the most important deed of his or her life (i.e . asked Marvin Gaye about the Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving"), I would be very surprised if Gaye's response wasn't a remarkably close aural approximation of Mike James Kirkland's cover of "Baby I Need Your Loving." A relaxed, slightly melancholic discussion of a song, which happens to take the form of a song itself; indeed, the exact harmonic form of its subject. With tone and intonation that owes everything to Gaye and a voice nearly as unstrained and sweet as the master's, Kirkland presents a song borrowed and clearly cared for, an enviable work of music appreciation that we can make love to. And hopefully, through different means, I have achieved the same.
[Buy]Posted by Jordan at May 23, 2007 5:58 PM
I don't know. "Fake Empire" sounds pretty perfect to me.Posted by Alicia at May 23, 2007 8:45 PM
If the song came from Platonic heaven it would be perfect. If it was instantiated it would, as you say, pall in comparison to the Platonic form thereof. I happen to like it.Posted by austin. at May 23, 2007 10:16 PM
To clarify: I did not mean that the song is imperfect; only that it may seem that way to a feeble human intellect easily distracted by the unmodish. As in all things, god (or Santa or Plato Spirit) knows best.Posted by Jordan at May 23, 2007 10:34 PM
It does sound like you're saying the rest of the album sucks though...Posted by Jeff at May 23, 2007 11:14 PM
"Sucks" is strong, but yes, that's the thrust.Posted by Jordan at May 23, 2007 11:21 PM
I pretty much agree, Jordan.
OMG is Lionel Richie dead?????Posted by Keef at May 24, 2007 6:52 AM
Boxer is an amazing album. Listen more.Posted by mike at May 26, 2007 9:16 PM
i might lose the "vaugely" in the "vaguely 'Walking in Memphis"-ish'" sentence.Posted by fairest at June 5, 2007 9:46 AM
Seriously, this is one of the most focused, poignant, and accurate reviews I've read on your fantastic blog.Posted by Drew at June 7, 2007 2:53 AM
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.
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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.
Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.
Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.
Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.
Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by .
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)
Back to the World
La Blogothèque ◊
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Destination: Out ◊
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe) ◊
Ill Doctrine ◊
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music ◊
Petites planétes ◊
Gorilla vs Bear ◊
Silent Shout ◊
Clouds of Evil ◊
The Dolby Apposition ◊
Awesome Tapes from Africa ◊
Matana Roberts ◊
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews ◊
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan ◊
CKUT Music ◊
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater ◊
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden ◊
Passion of the Weiss ◊
Juan and Only ◊
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin) ◊
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad ◊
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross) ◊
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet ◊
things we like in Montreal
le pick up
au pied de cochon
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c
drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c
casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
cinema du parc
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe
The Morning News