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Sums It Up For Me
on February 17, 2013
I am a proud Pete Yorn fan. I'm fanboy hardcore. I don't have a bumper sticker on my car to prove that, but I am. Hey, I'm just saying that this fellow is incapable of being anything, but the coolest thing since (taking a cue from my daughter) the age of the dinosaurs. I'm not about to launch into some "he's the most awesome rock star ever" rant but I will say that he effortlessly satisfies just about every need and expectation my relationship to pop music has.
Mr. Yorn has always had an uncanny ability to remind me of just about every other musician that I have ever liked all at once and always in the best way imaginable. I can see how that might be interpreted as a thinly veiled slight -that he doesn't somehow have his own voice. Gee, I don't subject my appreciation of P. Yorn to a whole lot of introspection and analysis so maybe I'm not giving the man his due. I'll work on that but for now I want to mention The Replacements (Yes, NOT The Pixies). I mean Bob Stinson Replacements -Sorry Ma..., Hootenanny, and Let It Be Replacements. On this LP, more than his other works, he has captured their sound, their entire vibe, their delicate tightrope walked between celebratory explosion and excessive implosion. Sure, it's not present on most of these tracks but when it is it's overwhelming and has a "gets-you-right-there" sort of dynamic to it.
Here's another lazy comparison: Pearl Jam's LP 'Yield'. 'Badman' is a Lou-Reed'ed-up 'Do The Evolution' if ever such a thing is even possible. Come to thinks of it, a lot of these songs have a 'Do The Evolution' aspect to them. What's up with that?
When in doubt, or maybe just when he gets tired, Mr. Yorn always goes country. These impulses and sensibilities become more apparent as the LP shifts to it's mid tempo au revoir (tracks 9 & 11 specifically but also Track 2). The song 'Wheels' seals the case that a good country music is only achieved through low production values and an upper respiratory tract infection. Truly, Wheels is a song worthy of John Townes Van Zandt.
A typical P. Yorn LP is measured and varied. He deliberately calls his shots. Not here. What it loses along those dimensions it gains in sustained focus, synergy and vitality. It's more pervasively and vigorously joyful than his typical fare. Maybe not the songs taken literally, but surely the spirit that envelopes them.
It's not for me to say if this is Mr. Yorn's best record. I'll leave that to you to decide. I will say, however, that this record speaks best to why he's come to mean so much to me.