When The Jayhawks first had a hit back in 1992 (“Waiting for the Sun”), I actively disliked it. I’m not sure why but at the time something about it really rubbed me wrong. Now, I happen to really like the song. But more interestingly, I think that their newest album, especially “Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces” is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite songs of 2016.
The verses are simple and catchy, the chorus is mesmerizingly fun to sing. And the way the band fills in around Gary Louris’ voice is just perfect (and those harmonies, wow). The version here is perfect–feeling a little more “live” than it does on record (as it should)
“Lovers of the Sun” mixes the verses of an unwritten Sloan song with a 1960s folk California chorus. The e-bow (which they’re worried didn’t get picked up) sounds cool and eerie at the same time.
“Leaving the Monsters Behind” has a bouncy bassline that propels this song and everyone sings delightful harmonies. There’s close harmonies with Louris and higher ones from the drummer. The middle section (ostensibly the solo) is really interesting for the way it shifts dramatically and the bass plays something very different from the bouncy main part. The parts work very well together.
“Comeback Kids” opens with a high riff on the guitar and a slow bass keeping the pace. I love that keyboardist Karen Grotberg switches back and forth between piano and this little synth pad thing that plays cool theremin-like sounds. The riff that leads to chorus is really dramatic as well. The ending, in which everyone sings some “oohs” and the riffs build and build, is right on.
I’m delighted at how much I’ve changed my mind about The Jayhawks. And it only took 24 years (and many many breakups, re-formations and personnel changes) for me to change my mind.
[READ: February 26, 2016] “A Night at the Opera”
I found this story to be rather unsatisfying. And it may have just been that when I printed it out, the first section was on one page and the second section–the start of page two–seemed so different that I wondered if I had somehow printed the wrong second page.
The story opens with the narrator reflecting on watching the Marx Brothers movie A Night at the Opera and how they laughed and laughed.
Then the second part jumps to a hospital known as Park House. It is a place for people who need assistance all the time. There are varying degrees of mental deficiencies in the hospital: the violent, the uncontrollably deluded, those who had murdered or who would murder, and the speechless.
There were two Christs, one Queen of Norway, no female Napoleons. There was Millie, as round as the full moon, who had dressed up as a man, taken an axe and murdered three people on a lonely farm.
About half way through the story it is determined that Park House will have a New Attitude and show films on Tuesday nights (for those residents who could handle it).
And that’s when A Night at The Opera returns.
This story was simply too elliptical for me. I really had no sense of what the deal was with the narrator of the story.