Album Review: Owen – New Leaves

September 6, 2009

Dorm wallpaper catalogue.

Concept: Mike Kinsella would like to share his feelings with us; getting out of undergrad, losing friends, relationships, etc.

Sound: The acoustic work is diverse, and traced well by thoughtful electric melodies. It can get Hallmark-y, and sometimes brings modern pop country to mind, but it’s cozy and more engaging than these things most of the time.

Lyrics: Mike’s writing is something out of a diary…I will call it diaretic. The monologue never stops, whether he’s laying out a backdrop or listing the twee images he’s picked out of Wes Anderson films lately. The songs so become more of a one-way conversation than an actual song. Although it’s all about growing up, and there are some decent thoughts on that, both explicitly and implicitly Mike is stuck in the past, and he’d rather not leave. It seems like nobody ever told him that second-person tense makes for a tenuous narrative, or that autobiographical songs should include something genuinely personal, or that lyrics should at least strive to value subtext over wordplay.

Concept: For baroque pop easy listening, it demands quite a bit in the way of sympathy. Stay for the riffs, pay no attention to that hipster behind the curtain. (♦♦♦)

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