My first spin through The Good Life’s 2007 release Help Wanted Nights had me remarking (to my dog, Bowie, who doesn’t care about my opinion and prefers salsa music) about how upbeat it is in comparison to my favorite TGL release, Album of the Year.
But a second, more focused listen proves it to be just as deeply rooted in selfishness and malaise as its predecessors… albeit in a subtler fashion.
While there isn’t a furious “Lovers Need Lawyers,” there is “Heartbroke.”
While there isn’t a heart-wrecking “Album of the Year,” there is “You Don’t Feel Like Home To Me.”
And while there isn’t an essay-length “Inmates,” there is a “Rest Your Head.”
So is this just another case of formulaic Kasher, steeped in his own self pity? Or is Help Wanted Nights a different direction for the Cursive lead man?
I tend to err on the side of the former. Maybe it’s because I identify too much with some of the content on this and previous Good Life releases. Or maybe it’s because this record fails to wow listeners like Album did.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t some good tunes here. “Keely Aimee” is a tremendous mid-tempo gem, and feels like it could very well have been on Album. “Your Share of Men” is as visceral as its title implies, mixing subdued guitar strumming with over-processed effects and Kasher’s signature shriek. And the aforementioned “You Don’t Feel Like Home to Me” may just be where listeners connect most to the singer, who is at times quite distant and cold.
It’s no Album of the Year, and not Kasher’s best, but Help Wanted Nights is a capable release.
And for today’s song, there are two versions of “Heartbroke”. This is the ‘mean’ version –
…and this is the ‘nice and dirty’ version –
Standout tracks: “Keely Aimee” and “A Little Bit More”
Weakest track: “Some Tragedy” just doesn’t go anywhere, but feels like it drags for an eternity.
RIYL: Singer-songwriters, anything Saddle Creek. Bright Eyes, Neva Dinova, Two Gallants, Kasher’s solo work. Melancholy drinking songs.