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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sweet and painful, December 3, 2001
By 
Robert Jefferson (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
This album follows in the tradition of his _Eureka_ album and _Halfway to a Threeway_ EP. Like both of them, the disc is chock full of warm, rich melodies and songwriting that recalls the best of 60's pop, with a bit of a perverse easy listening flavor. However, a few of the tracks on here are certainly more outwardly rocking than what he's done in the past, largely due to the presence of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy on guitar. The extra crunch gives the album more depth, allowing the music to take on a more active dimension in spots.
Once you strip away the melodies and guitar riffs, you're left with the lyrics. Like the darker moments on _Halfway_, the lyrics are sometimes hard to hear on a casual listen, but careful examination will reveal some rather disenchanted words. "Memory Lame" is a prime example: while the music itself is fairly bouncy and abjectly cheerful, O'Rourke sweetly sings: "Listening to you reminds me of the motor's endless drone/And how the deaf are so damn lucky". Throughout the album, it's quiet catharsis, but done in such a way as to be romantic.
If you've been turned off by some of O'Rourke's more abstract moments (his electroacoustic compositions, or his work with Gastr Del Sol) or you've never listened to his music before, this is probably the best place to start.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars that stripy pants guy, July 23, 2002
By 
glubak "glubak" (Glebe, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
Jim O'Rourke's profile is high these days since his involvement in two of the year's most anticipated releases, Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and Sonic Youth's "Murray Street". But the man in the stripy pants has trumped the alternative rock icons - his own CD "Insignificance" is by far the best of the three albums.
This is music rooted in the early 70's in the nicest possible way. A mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar muscle, Todd Rundgren piano-based pop, Joni Mitchell acoustic delicacy and Steely Dan melodic sophistication. And then, mid-song, he's likely to fall into a weird rhythmic lock-step.
It's fascinating stuff and catchy as hell. A great album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kelly Jones should be whooping with childish glee, April 26, 2003
By 
Stanley B. (Beachy Head, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
If it's true about stereophonical Kelly Jones bizarrely claiming Dylan's vitriolic `Positively 4th Street' as his all-time favourite song (bizarre in-part because it's minor Dylan) then he should whooping with childish glee at Jim's wide array of barbed lyrical put-downs on `Insignificance', O'Rourke's second `straight' solo album. "listening to you reminds me of a motor's endless drone/and how the deaf are so damn lucky" from `Memory Lame', "I've travelled round the world/why am I talking to you", from another.
That the album is being touted as a "southern-fried rock album" is confusing. It's Jim's rock album in the same way that Lifes Rich Pageant was REM's rock album; both labelled by their opening tracks. Only three songs rock and even then the lyrics are delivered in that familiar sardonic, unfazed manner, with the tunes themselves morphing restlessly into beatific rural melodies. The title track even appears like some High Llamas before it quickly tires of the comparison and shifts into something more exciting. The tag with this album is not the rock as such but the employment of a live band (Jeff Tweedy wouldn't really arrive on any album with "RAWK!" emblazoned on his shirt collar). Jim wanted the album fresher, more immediate. His previous album, the densely arranged cycling `Eureka', sounded like the result of several months alone, cocooned in a studio. But even though `Insignificance' is sparser, more simplistic, it's still exquisitely crafted. There are no loose jams....
And it's the craft that makes this album a wonder to behold. Those ever shifting melodies, the effortless jumps from `Cold Blooded Old Times' stylie two chord Velvet rock to brass inflected pastoral folk, the multitude of ideas on each song, each greedily cast aside for the next. These are the things Mr Jones should be paying greater attention to. The short length of the album may irk but it's all the more astonishing for the ground covered. The Stereophonics, after all their tedious and long-winded years of song, are still fumbling with the needle at the end of side one.
Nevertheless if these taut superlative thirty-odd minutes still leave you blissfully unaware of the perverse charms of Jim O'Rourke then you only need to look in baffled wonder at the brightly coloured sleeve. It features an octopus `entertaining' a Japanese man-baby.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'rourke's Best, March 13, 2003
By 
"sbrooks76" (Newark, De United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
This is undoubtedly O'rourke's best album that is credited to him alone(as he seems to have a hand in everything released these days). The quirky beats, catchy chords, and lyrical wizardry lends to this album a quality that is present but not fully realized in the earlier Euereka. What was missing in his earlier work is included here.
The first three songs are orchestrated very similarly. O'rourke seemed to pick a rhythmic theme for each one and then layer upon pianos, xylaphones, sporadic drum beats and soothing lyrics. The blatantly redundant rhythms anchor the music in rock, but the other elements help provide the signature quirkiness and brilliance that is synonomous with the artist. The piano keys pound away on Insignificance chopstick like while O'Rourke languidly lets lyrics spill into each other, and then makes the chorus bridge-like.
I shant go on, but this is a gem, good music is being made and this is evidence of it
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware, or pay a hefty sum, February 3, 2003
By 
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
The hefy sum of which I speak is of course your own rational mind (or what you thought was your own before you gave Mr. O'Rourke a listen). Be prepared to bathe in the splendor of what Jim O'Rourke has created for an infinite amount of time because the beauty of this music will engulf your mind. Every post-O'Rourke thought will belong to both Jim and yourself, so abandon all hope of privacy.--Of course I'm joking, but this is truly wonderful music. While I don't particularly enjoy his noise related recordings, everything else the man associates himself with is pure ecstasy. So in closing, give Jim a chance (and also your mind).
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, November 16, 2009
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
If you can picture Nick Drake playing slightly Bacharach sounding music, that is what this album, Insignifagence, sounds like.

All the tracks here are based around Orouke's accustic guitar, and, despite the excellent rocker that opens Insignifagance, have a rustic tone; lots of picking and some slide guitatr.

But the chord changes here are more structed as 60s pop such as that of Bacarach, and Orouke does a masterful job at making these two elements bind in a way that sounds natural. He also shows is love for the avant guard, inserting little hints through an album of whatis otherwise straightforward high end pop.

Excellent album
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great album, May 14, 2003
By 
C. Randall "Dylan61" (Grand Rapids, MI United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
I purchased this album without really knowing what I was buying. I got it because it came up in the "people who purchased this item also purchased..." page when I bought the Loose Fur album, which also features O'Rourke.
I absolutely love it. I've now listened to Sonic Youth and Loose Fur and have decided that O'Rourke is at his best when he's solo. I bought this CD not really knowing much about Jim O'Rourke, but now I'm a big fan.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey moves on., January 25, 2002
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
First let me say that "Eureka" and "Insignificance" have the coolest cover art of the past several years. Mimiyo Tomozawa has a hilarious sense of humor with her art. You should see the inside pictures as well as the covers. If anyone knows of a website that contains her work, please email me.
Okay, now to the review. After finally hearing Jim O'Rourke's album "Eureka" I decided that I had to get some of his other albums. Just as I had expected, this album is incredible. It has a different aura than "Eureka," yet if you put them both in the cd player together and hit shuffle, it would still make perfect since. I'm very intrigued by how Jim writes his songs.
The first song, "All Downhill From Here," starts off as a typical alternative rock song with semi-fuzzed out guitar and then turns into a signature Jim O'Rourke beauty. "Therefore, I Am" continues with the electric guitar theme that is not so present on "Eureka." It sort of reminds me of driving home from work on a Friday in the summer with the windows down. You're happy that you don't have to go back to that horrible place until Monday and the world is yours for a short period. Just feel good rock really.
A moment that I really enjoy is when Jim picks up the acoustic again on "Good Times" and gives us that lovely side of folk that he's so great at. My favorite here has to be "Get A Room." At first I thought it was a remake of that Edie Brickell song "What I Am" from the early 90's. If you don't believe me, listen to the first five seconds of the song. It's so much better, though. I apologize if that was a bad comparison. It's just a beautiful song. It's the type of song I've really come to enjoy from O'Rourke. By the way, is that a Rhode's I hear in the song? Oh yeah, many thanks to Jim for bringing out the pedal steel on the last song "Life Goes Off." Nothing gets me more than the sound of a good steel guitar in a song.
The thing that's funny to me about this album that I didn't really feel on "Eureka" is that sometimes, only occasionally, Jim's voice reminds me of Jack Black's from Tenacious D. That's not to compare the two by any means, but it's sorta true and funny. Not the whole album, but just occasionally.
In the end, I strongly recommend this album. It's a lot of fun and very precious at times. If you enjoy any of O'Rourke's work, this will be no exception. Now, onward with my journey to explore other albums by Jim O'Rourke. Hopefully, again, I'll be able to type another great review of some of his other work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive album, but not as spectacular as Eureka!, January 11, 2012
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
(4 1/2 stars)I would prefer rating this album 4 stars out of 7. This album has 3 or 4 tracks that I like. Get a room is a great song, especially the second half with its eccentric lyics that are very catchy and you just want to keep listening to over and over. Good times is a very nice laid back acoustic song with the occassional rifts there which is quite lovely and cool lyrics. Besides good times I would say therefore I am is the biggest highlight of the album, a cool rock song but with great guitars and vocals. Then the other song I like a lot on here is the song insignificance which reminds me of a song sung by one of the 60s bands like the association. In fact after I listened to it a few times it reminds me so much of the song "Like Always" by the Association...has that very similar catchy sound. Check both the songs off of youtube and youll see what I mean. Besides those 4 songs though none of the songs really grab you and pull you in and are catchy. A worthy album of course for any O rourke fan for sure, but if you heard the album Eureka before this and were hoping it to be as good or almost as good you'll likely be disappointed. This was not even in the same category as Eureka in my opinion. Then again I would imagine it would be hard for O'Rourke to put out another album as amazing as Eureka but I think came awfully close with the Visitor which is so beautiful it made me cry. Eureka is probably in my top 3 favorite and artistically brilliant albums of all time ever by any artist its that good. These songs have an overall different sound which most of the songs consist of acoustics with some electric guitars in some sounds and has a more quick fast rythm to it. Maybe one or two songs use the occassional sax or brass instruments on this album but very minimally. You never quite know what to expect from O'Rourke, but never disappointed.

Eureka on the other hand seems like O Rourke put much more time and effort into Eureka which is an album of much more patience and clearly uses way more piano, brass, horns, sax, and instruments of the like which are Jim's bread and butter instruments although hes a genius in all instruments. The album Eureka I believe Jim thinks is probably his best which is why he titled it Eureka which translates into I got it( like this is the album). But as I said two clearly different albums...even if you only enjoy one or two tracks from this album its worth the pickup or download for sure. But don't expect it to surpass the brilliance of eureka or even touch it. In fact this album also falls even way short of the albums bad timing and halfway to a three way. This is his least brilliant album that I have heard of between the four I mentioned.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well, he's still a misanthrope, December 2, 2001
This review is from: Insignificance (Audio CD)
his lyrics are getting more and more scathing. "if i were to die with these things on, you might need to try another size."
this cd is pretty interesting. much better than halfway to a threeway...i like it about as much as eureka. jim is a clever clever man.
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Insignificance
Insignificance by Jim O'Rourke (Audio CD - 2001)
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