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Strange Negotiations

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 24, 2011
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Strange Negotiations + Curse Your Branches + Live At Electrical Audio
Price for all three: $37.10

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Editorial Reviews

David Bazan was, for many years, the songwriter and driving force behind the acclaimed indie band Pedro the Lion, building a dedicated following and selling a couple hundred-thousand albums based in large part on his extraordinary melodic sense and erudite, theologically-themed songs. After a decade helming the project,he found himself embroiled in a major personal philosophical and spiritual cataclysm, wrapped in a growing drinking problem. Bazan got to work exorcizing both his demons and angels, ditching the Pedro moniker in favor of his given name and producing two incredible pieces of work in the Fewer Moving Parts EP and the 2009 full-length Curse Your Branches (Barsuk). Branches is considered by many to be a legitimate masterpiece. Charting Bazan's increasingly skeptical struggle with the precepts of the evangelical Christian world in which he was raised, the album covers some pretty serious ground. NPR called it ''an album of great music and great humanity.'' Strange Negotiations focuses Bazan's energies toward the external, centering on his disappointment in the current state of accelerating American and global social fragmentation. Musically, most of Strange Negotiations sounds like a great rock band playing songs they're beyond intimate with. It's the first full-length he's recorded with a band, the same band with which he toured relentlessly in support of Curse Your Branches.

1. Wolves at the Door
2. Level with Yourself
3. Future Past
4. People
5. Virginia
6. Eating Paper
7. Messes
8. Don't Change
9. Strange Negotiations
10. Won't Let Go

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B004VMX5XC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,061 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ken Boothby on May 24, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Bazan since around when Achilles Heel came out, and I feel like he's only improved since then. The early Pedro the Lion albums (particularly Control) will always hold a special place in my heart, but I think his work with Headphones and under his own name have shown a maturity and depth rarely seen in his earlier work. And this album is no exception.

Fans of "rockier" Bazan will be pleased with a lot of what they hear on this album (Wolves at the Door, Level With Yourself, Eating Paper, Messes), but there are some good slow pieces (Virginia, Won't Let Go) as well. A lot of people seem to compare this album to Control, and while I can see why they would say that - they are both rather diverse albums that have a good share of upbeat/heavy songs - the comparison only goes so far. Many of the songs (particularly in production style) feel more akin to the stuff on Curse Your Branches, and to be honest I can't picture a single one of them fitting into Control's tracklist. In some ways, this album is essentially a combination of every musical style Bazan has touched on in his very rich musical history (the synth line in "Messes" is a particularly good example of this pattern).

Lyrically, this album is one of Bazan's stronger efforts. The religious themes are still very present, but Bazan seems to be enjoying his new-found total freedom from the "Christian rock" label (shaken for good around the time of Curse Your Branches and the press surrounding its release), and is more critical of the faith than ever, particularly on Level With Yourself and Future Past. Eating Paper seems to address this change, and Bazan's audience's reaction to it, directly: "why would you sweat my confession / what I claim to be / when you see the fruit as it hangs on the tree?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Babin on September 1, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
I've been a fan of David via Pedro the Lion for many, many years. I own all of his albums and he's one of the few artists that I've made sure to go out of the way to see live. In fact, I've seen him live twice, including on his tour for this album. Even at 35 years old, married with a child, after over 16 years of being active, David has only become more outstanding. His story of public religious turmoil and conflict with the Christian church is no secret... for someone to endure that level of personal struggle nakedly in front of the whole world, and keep his passion for sharing his music with us all is proof that David is not in the business for the fame, glory, or the money, as you can see by the $3.99 album price. Quite a few months ago, David ran a fundraiser to get this album made. Fans could donate $35-$45 to go toward David+Band's living expenses while they produced and recorded the album. Those that donated got an "I Helped Bazan Make A Record T-Shirt", the album once it was finished, *their name in the liner notes as an executive producer*, a pin, and a merch discount coupon. I am incredibly proud to say I am one of the executive producers of this album.

And as grateful I am to David, he is grateful to his fans. He's taken the time to reply to my me on his Facebook page on two different occasions. Not only that, I've had the pleasure of sharing a few words with him after the last show I saw, and since he saw I was wearing my "I helped Bazan" shirt, he, in the most sincere way, thanked me for helping out and shook my hand.

I share this with you because on one hand, the more you listen to his music, the more you get to know David inner-self, but on the other, you miss an equally important part of his personality and thus, are missing the entire context.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Comrade Mike on July 1, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
This is a VERY good record. Unlike reviewer Boothby I was immediately grabbed by People and Level With Yourself as standout tracks. The kind that on your first listen through you stop and say, "Wait, WTF is this?" and you have to go back and start the song over from the beginning before you even get to the end in order to make sure you are paying attention to the whole thing. I don't think there are any weak songs on the record though. Those two were just my entry into the record. The other thing I'll say is that I don't find many other songwriters capture the sentiment of certain things like Bazan does. I guess maybe there just aren't so many folks that look at life the way he does. I wonder what will happen to his songwriting when he is done struggling with his stuff?
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Constant Listener on July 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD
BUY STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS BY DAVID BAZAN IF...

1. ...you already own any albums by Pedro the Lion or David Bazan.

2. ...you're not a regular Christian, you're a cool Christian.

3. ....you like the sound of Randy Newman's voice, and you wouldn't mind hearing something a little deeper and growlier coming from a balding, bearded, Christian lumberjack type from the Pacific Northwest.

4. ...you're cool with an album ratio of approximately 6-2-2, or in other words six great songs, two good songs, and two so-so songs.

5. ...you're from Seattle, Washington and you love yourself some indie rock music or you at least wish you were from Seattle, Washington because you love yourself some indie rock music.

6. ...you can sing along to Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" with no problemo whatsoever - in fact you've been known to drop the GD bomb once in awhile yourself.

7. ...you currently attend or did attend at any time in the past a Christian college at which you spent any amount of time drinking beer, questioning your faith, failing to live up to expectations, or any combination of the three.

8. ...you're a smart, complicated, person with a dark side who probably reads a lot and has smart opinions and smart thoughts and questions a lot of stuff in life.

9. ...you are a balding, God-fearing family man with a drinking problem and a tendency to see the glass as half-empty. Extra points if you are bearded.

10. ...you know or love or have a thing for a man or men that fit the above description.
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