Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cursive- "Mama, I'm swollen"

I wrote a review for this album for the purchase brick.
The Purchase Brick

Here was the original:

Tim Kasher, the wordsmith behind the rock band Cursive, may be one of our generations’ most remarkable lyricists. Unfortunately you may not know it yet. On Cursive’s eighth studio release, the band delivers an explosive and fresh collection of songs about evolution, self-loathing, and what seems to be Kasher’s favorite theme, broken relationships. Throughout the album, Kasher can be heard making heavy demands.
On the fast paced, bass infused opening track, “In the Now”, the singer exclaims, “Don’t wanna live in the now/ don’t wanna know what I know.” The band quickly follows the steady pace with the single, “From The Hips”. One of the most memorable lyrics on the album can be heard on this song. “We're at our best when it's from our hips” says Kasher who then proceeds to declare, “I hate this damn enlightenment/We were better off as animals.” The most profound detail about this song, is that it isn’t a declaration to god or human creation, it seems to be a song about a relationship gone astray.

What makes Kasher such a great lyrical artist, is the way he injects his fervent passion into every word he places in his songs. Most love songs or breakup songs aren’t ones that question our existence or beliefs. The next couple tracks on the album “I couldn’t love you anymore” and “Donkeys” provide more of a tranquil ambience to the record. Both songs, utilize the saxophone, an instrument that although could be found on the last release are more noticeable on these newer songs. The fifth song on the album called “Caveman” an upbeat keyboard driven proclamation, conveys a strong message of society’s interpretations of how man is presumed to live.

Is modern technology the answer to our problems? With lyrics such as “I want to unlearn what I’ve learned” an indication of how modern life might not be as comfortable as we assume. He continues, “I’m no happy family man/ I’m no husband ain’t no dad/ I’m a God damn caveman”. The observations that are found in Kasher’s lyrics may not be absolutely correct, but that’s for the listener to decide, Kasher only provides the evidence. As the band takes us further into the album with songs, “We’re going to Hell” and “Mama, I’m Satan” not to be confused with the title track, they continue to question themes like religion, existence, and lifestyle. These songs provide for a great transition into the eighth track, “Let Me Up” a song about asking to be rescued. The standout song on the album, which begins with a tubed guitar effect, continues the slow tempo’d persistence of the past two songs. Before the listener realizes that this song will explode with distorted bass and cymbal crashes, Kasher yelps, “Mama, the planet is a placenta/Pull the plug/Let the heavens rise above/Won't you let me up? One of the most powerful songs released thus far this year, this song is a cry for help, an announcement to not knowing all the answers.

The two final songs on the album, “Mama, I’m Swollen” and “What have I done?” follow a similar routine. However what would an album be without the self-loathing and pessimistic attitude of Tim Kasher? Definitely, not a Cursive album. On the self-titled track/he confesses “I’m not an egg/I’m a runny yolk/ I’ve no faith/I got no hope”. The last track on the album, which happens to be the longest, entitled “What Have I Done?” a simple self-inquiry about what the author has accomplished and how he views these accomplishments. The most vehement lyric in the song comes midway through the song, “I spent the best years of my life/ Waiting on the best years of my life”. Although the album comes in at little under forty minutes, it never hesitates to provide the listener with catchy melodies, memorable lyrics, and an overall enjoyable listening experience. The main lyric re-itterated numerous times on the last track asks the listener, What have I done? If I had to say, Mr. Kasher, you have successfully created one of the best albums of the year.

From The Hips
From The Hips

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