Pete Yorn Import
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Mr. Yorn has always had an uncanny ability to remind me of just about every other musician that I have ever liked all at once and always in the best way imaginable. I can see how that might be interpreted as a thinly veiled slight -that he doesn't somehow have his own voice. Gee, I don't subject my appreciation of P. Yorn to a whole lot of introspection and analysis so maybe I'm not giving the man his due. I'll work on that but for now I want to mention The Replacements (Yes, NOT The Pixies). I mean Bob Stinson Replacements -Sorry Ma..., Hootenanny, and Let It Be Replacements. On this LP, more than his other works, he has captured their sound, their entire vibe, their delicate tightrope walked between celebratory explosion and excessive implosion. Sure, it's not present on most of these tracks but when it is it's overwhelming and has a "gets-you-right-there" sort of dynamic to it.
Here's another lazy comparison: Pearl Jam's LP 'Yield'. 'Badman' is a Lou-Reed'ed-up 'Do The Evolution' if ever such a thing is even possible. Come to thinks of it, a lot of these songs have a 'Do The Evolution' aspect to them. What's up with that?
When in doubt, or maybe just when he gets tired, Mr. Yorn always goes country. These impulses and sensibilities become more apparent as the LP shifts to it's mid tempo au revoir (tracks 9 & 11 specifically but also Track 2). The song 'Wheels' seals the case that a good country music is only achieved through low production values and an upper respiratory tract infection. Truly, Wheels is a song worthy of John Townes Van Zandt.
A typical P. Yorn LP is measured and varied. He deliberately calls his shots. Not here. What it loses along those dimensions it gains in sustained focus, synergy and vitality. It's more pervasively and vigorously joyful than his typical fare. Maybe not the songs taken literally, but surely the spirit that envelopes them.
It's not for me to say if this is Mr. Yorn's best record. I'll leave that to you to decide. I will say, however, that this record speaks best to why he's come to mean so much to me.
Ahem, having said that, and after waiting a week (or two) for my cd to arrive via international post, I am happy to have PY's new album in my possession. It's a blast, literally, the hard rock aspect I loved from Day I Forgot is there, and it's focused. Probably due to the packed recording schedule this album underwent. But it's to PY's benefit. The emotion feels more up front, and I'm just grateful that he got Back & Fourth out of his system. Not to say that I didn't like B&F, it's just a bummer to listen to sometimes. And there were a couple of songs I'd normally skip on that album. On this one, I'm happy to hear all of them in one go. On repeat.
If you liked songs like Carlos or Burrito from Day I Forgot, I am entirely certain you'd love this one. Hearing him belt out "Always" is definitely a highlight, and even reminds us that this is the guy who wrote For Nancy. It's that good. And the tempo he sets in Stronger Than makes the song one of my all time faves. In fact it's hard to pick any individual song as the best from PY, they're all good. Thematically, it's typical Pete (not that it's a bad thing). Think the attitude from earlier tunes like Strange Condition and Lose You, or even the entire B&F album, and you'll get the idea.
One thing I'd like to see in Pete's future albums is the experimental side he displayed in Nightcrawler. Probably his most ignored/underrated album, aside from the excellent Western EP. And for the record, I know MFTMA is a big deal, but the guy really has come a long way since then. This album is proof of that. You just need to listen.
Now if you'll excuse me, I got a certain record to listen to again. Cheers.
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