FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009 |
Remember punk? No, not the loud, angry, political metal studs on tattered denim jackets and patches in unreadable jagged fonts with vaguely aggressive and/or offensive names. I mean pop punk. Remember power chords and catchy sing-along choruses, repeated verses, and a sense of silly detachment from it all...a celebration of the hilarious absurdity of it all...its existence as a genre...a walking contradiction. Well, you should, and if you don't, listening to Jay Reatard's Watch Me Fall (Matador) will definitely jerk your inner power-pop-punker alive in a fit of over-enthused shout a-longs and semi-justified angst at the world.
First, however, a little history lesson (this is perhaps one of the few times where background information on an artist might actually tell you something about the music itself, trust me.) Watch Me Fall will be released on August 18th on Matador Records--that's right, one of indie rock's most respectable, classic labels, releasing power pop, pop punk, whatever you'd like to call this. Jay Reatard's 90-somethingth release since dropping out of the 8th grade. Yes, really. After working in a number of varied musical projects, Mr. Jay picked up his rather cringe inducing name (from the equally cringe inducing previous moniker: The Reatards) and started his full on solo project. He then went on to impress the world with his live shows, abrupt, rushed, and terrifyingly enthused.
So now, let's come back to Watch Me Fall, recorded all in his home studio, and with him playing all the instruments with the exception of very few songs and instances...just over half an hour of garage-power-chords-power-punk fun. With an idea of the artist (although it's probably impossible to really understand or capture the artist), there are these songs. "It Ain't Gonna Save Me" a direct throw back to Sex Pistol style brash vocals and shouted choruses, or "I'm Watching You," which is far more soaked in sentimentality and Blink 182 brokenhearted teenage boy post-break up power pop song with an irresistible charm in its very sentimental, clichd desperate sappiness. "Wounded" has a near painfully cheery, catchy bouncy melody for a song about the opposite, with re enforced shouts in the choruses and a refrain, "we are standing still" (although I'm sure he's doing anything but.) This album feels like what one of his live shows must feel like... urgent, in your head, hard to dismiss, slightly hard to embrace, catchy and likable in the most unlikely of ways. - Laura Yan