Quick Review (LP): Those Who Tell the Truth…by Explosions in the Sky

Explosions In The Sky
Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
Temporary Residence Limited; 2001

My Rating: B (68/100)

Best Tracks: "Greet Death", "The Moon Is Down"


Standing on the edge…

NOTES

  • Whereas their debut was all about landscapes and the wonder of the open sky, this one is overwhelmingly mortal and full of dread.
  • Opens in a hardcore wash. “Helloooo…..”
  • They are a bit tighter here than on their first effort, but they still haven’t PERFECTED that sound.
  • This is their most punk record, in the sense of it not being afraid to rush headlong into musical mayhem at times. At the very least, that causes this record to stand out for me.
  • Nice sample from The Thin Red Line on "Have You Passed Through This Night?" That rifle shot about scared the ghost out of me.
  • There’s no centerpiece here, and this is not their best effort in terms of coaxing amazing sounds out of their guitars. Still, it is a powerful record at times, and it’s certainly worth exploring.
  • It’s certainly appropriate to call this a fated record, what with the band’s name, the album cover, the liner note ("This plane will crash tomorrow"), the release date just prior to 9/11. It’s funny how many indie rock milestones coincide with that day. Wonder if we are just so sensitive to it that everything seems a coincidence? Still, you gotta admit it’s spooky.
  • Pitchfork really likes this one. And, oh yeah, this has got to be the most record reviewing-est record review I’ve ever read. All the big words = smart dude, right?

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3.5/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Songs (4/5)

Tracks of the Decade: “My City of Ruins” by Bruce Springsteen

cp-springsteen2“My City of Ruins”
by Bruce Springsteen
from THE RISING

Many great songs, through whatever transcendent quality they possess, remain in the collective consciousness for years and are thus finally afforded the status of “classic” through sheer timelessness. “My City of Ruins”, on the other hand, is an undeniable classic forever stuck in one moment, time-bound to the dark days immediately following 9/11. Although the Boss wrote the track as a tribute to Asbury Park, NJ, it was adapted into a post-trauma canticle of resilience for the people of New York City. To be sure, it IS a great song, but for an evening in 2001 it became America’s song, as Springsteen delivered it during the AMERICA: A TRIBUTE TO HEROES telethon. Featuring a revivalistic progression for the ages, the song stands as a return to the grand symbolic gesture that Springsteen so ably employed during his early artistic achievements. (In a way, it also marks the artistic revival of his career after a bleak 15 year run.) “My City of Ruins” registers with all the spiritual power and the glory of “The Star Spangled Banner”, but crosses from the realm of mere patriotism into anthemic humanism. If there ever was such a thing as a rock and roll hymn, “My City of Ruins” resurrected the form, mustering all the vigor, hope, and consolence of “Hey Jude.” When The Boss calls you to “Rise up!”, you feel like you might reach the cathedral rafters. Seeming to possess the ability to bind up wounds and heal the broken-hearted, “My City of Ruins” is a rare achievement in rock and roll, the sonic marker for an historical sea change. One of The Boss’ greatest achievements.

Tracks of the Decade: “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows

Counting Crows, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” from THIS DESERT LIFE: Arriving early in the decade, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” was the centerpiece of Counting Crows’ last great record, THIS DESERT LIFE. An epic, cinematic masterpiece that captures all of Adam Duritz’s coffee-shop-romantic angst in bite size, “Lullaby” encapsulates the star-crossed dreams of America in the 1990’s, one last optimistic fix before the sobering events of 9/11. Accompanied by an absolutely fabulous music video (see below), the song blends “City of New Orleans” and Dylan’s “Memphis Blues”, with blindingly grandiose lyrics (“If dreams are like movies/Then memories are films about ghosts”), decadent production, and incendiary performances to boot. It may not be their most popular hit, but it’s got my vote as their best song. A huge claim, given the artistic wealth of their first two records, but you judge for yourself.
PS First one to callout the pre-fame cameo at 5:05’s the winner!

Mrs._Potter's_LullabyCounting Crows
“Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”
from THIS DESERT LIFE

Arriving early in the decade, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” was the centerpiece of Counting Crows’ last great album, THIS DESERT LIFE. An epic, cinematic masterpiece that captures all of Adam Duritz’s coffee-shop-romantic angst in bite size, “Lullaby” finds a muse in the star-crossed dreams of America in the 1990’s, one last optimistic fix before the sobering events of 9/11. Accompanied by an absolutely fabulous music video, the song marries “City of New Orleans” and Dylan’s “Memphis Blues”, with blindingly grandiose lyrics (“If dreams are like movies/Then memories are films about ghosts”), decadent production, and incendiary performances to boot. It may not be their most popular hit, but it’s got my vote as their best song. A huge claim, given the artistic wealth of their first two records, but you judge for yourself.

PS First one to callout the pre-fame cameo at 5:05’s the winner!