Friday, December 08, 2006

Ouch

Well, one of the things you need to be aware of is that when you submit a CD for review, or a book or anything else, you may get back an opinion you don't like. Sometimes you get an opinion you REALLY don't like -- like Moldea v. New York Times. I'm thinking about that right now. And I'd like to take our first lukewarm review with some grace, but I also like to analyze. So I will (that's kind of the point of this blog, right?).

There's some good things in this Herald review of our new CD (rated a C+), but some pretty harsh stuff, too (which is kind of surprising for a local review). Here's the full text:
CHEWY INSIDE
Like a Tootsie Pop, there’s something delicious in the middle of this full-length debut from Boston alt-pop band Cassavettes. Unfortunately the edges are soured with depressing heartache and unsteady tempos.If you don’t feel like being sad for days, start with the center tracks (“It’s Gonna Be Alright”, “On the Lam” and “The Devil’s Arms”), which spotlight Glenn Yoder’s rich vocal style and the band’s talent for playing scratchy indie folk-rock tunes with Texas-size harmonies and complex arrangements. Download: “On the Lam.” (Appearing with Christians & Lions, Mittens, and Hats & Glasses tomorrow at the Middle East, Cambridge.)


I'll comment on a few points here.

First, I haven't talked to Matt about this yet, but I imagine he can't be too happy. "Unsteady tempos"? Whoa, talk about slicing right at the heart of the rhythm section there. I don't think any of the tempos are unsteady; what we DO do is speed and slow down from time to time, on purpose, to add intensity. Matt holds down a pretty steady beat though.

Second, I'm not going to take credit away from anyone else here. While I sing the two other songs she seemingly likes ("The Devil's Arms" and "It's Gonna Be Alright"), Mike sings her pick "On The Lam," so he should have gotten his due credit in the piece, instead of me. Or at least, both of us. Because, unless you really know us, how can you differentiate between our rich vocal stylings?

Third, "The Devil's Arms" is without a doubt, the most depressing song on the album -- I don't know why it's lumped in the feel-good category. Actually, the fact that is was is kind of funny.

And finally, the big one, I'll address this line: "If you don’t feel like being sad for days..." Yikes, that's a pretty strong sentiment. Being that the majority of the songs she speaks with around the edges are mine, I'll say for the record that I'm proud of the lyrical content. They're not Elliot Smith-like depressing, anyway. But as I progressed in writing lyrics, I think (as cheesy as it may be) that I started to be more honest with myself. I started to write about the things I really felt the most about, even if they are downers. That's where you'll find universal themes and what not. Very rarely will you find that in feel-good songs. Sure, "It's Gonna Be Alright" and "Seasons" (not mentioned) are uptempo and seemingly happier (Although, in "Alright," for much of it I'm talking about one of my friends getting over a few hurdles, including the car accident that killed her best friend three summers ago, so, ah well, so much for that happiness -- it's about learning to focus on the positive). Keep in mind, that I don't really like giving away the secrets of a song's lyrics, but I figure that if I explain some parts you can better see the connections. And it fits my mission with this blog.

Either way, I'm not trying to bum anyone out. I'm not a sad person, so I don't know how that's possible. This is just an age when you notice a lot of things in the world that you didn't -- or wouldn't have -- before, and a lot of the album is about that. But if emotional honesty isn't cool with you, then so be it. There's plenty of good uplifting or feel good songs out there, starting with "Twist and Shout."

You know, this part of the review actually amused me a good bit. Just the other night, Tara was telling me that her mother started reading the lyrics on the inside of the CD Tara's brother Jack bought. Apparently, she asked Tara why all the songs were so sad. And now, the experts have spoken and declared Mike and I sad dudes. I don't quite see it that way, but I can see where others do. I don't mind either, because as Joe Bug used to always say, lyrics are there for interpretation.

I just thought that this could use my two cents, too.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to add that Tootsie Pops, in their entirety, are delicious and so is "It's Gonna Change."

08 December, 2006 11:27  
Anonymous scott said...

yeah she really should have used a different analogy than tootsie pops, since they are great all around. WAIT, i could say this to you right now since you're sitting right next to me playing guitar and singing "there are scotties i remember" and it's making me sad. damn, i feel like i am going to be sad for days after hearing it in fact.

08 December, 2006 17:16  

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