October 8th, 2013 12:38pm
There’s A Value In Things Unpleasant
I’ve been starting to feel weird about how much I relate to a lot of Kevin Barnes’ lyrics, particularly as he’s been moving in this increasingly venomous direction over the course of the past three of Montreal albums. Lousy with Sylvianbriar dials back the spite from where he left off on Paralytic Stalks, but he kinda had to walk it back from there – that record goes so far into the depths of spite and despair that the only way to top it would be to literally record a nervous breakdown. Lousy is a something of a course-correcting album – it’s a little brighter, the songs are tighter and more traditional. The influence of Prince and Sly on the past several albums has been replaced by Bob Dylan. Dylan-ness serves him well – the music is far more relaxed, but gives him a familiar framework to write songs that obliquely eviscerate someone, or maybe sometimes himself.
“Belle Glade Missionaries” is my favorite, maybe because it’s so amusing in its bitterness and exotic detail. I mean, this is a song in which Kevin mocks someone for being overly concerned with the popularity of their naked GIFs and then sinks the knife deeper by telling them that “their friends don’t give a shit and view your fugues with amusement.” The stuff that really sinks in for me, though, are the more cynical and fatalistic lines. You know, like the one about how there are no victims to the evils of the world, only participants. Or the line which kinda sums up all of his recent music: “Still, there’s a value in things unpleasant.”
Buy it from Amazon.