Day 136 – #101. Cursive – The Ugly Organ

Cursive - The Ugly Organ Album Review

So it occurred to me as I was writing this, that I take a lot of music for granted when I should not.

This epiphany happened after I wrote these lines:

“For me, this album has been on a gradual decline in terms of its standing in the Cursive discography, slipping to just 5th overall.

Except, that’s not a bad thing.”

I mean, sure. That wouldn’t have been so bad of a way to kick this off. Especially because the sentiment is true: for me, Cursive’s 2003 album, The Ugly Organ, fresh off its 10th birthday, has lapsed.

My thought process in writing what I did was to say that, while the album itself will forever be a jam, both my personal tastes have changed, and Cursive’s style has evolved.
And if I had to specify the particular facet of this record that is most offputting, it would have to be the cello. It just doesn’t fit anymore, and seems so downright out of place now in terms of the Cursive discography.

But looking at it from the bigger picture? This is the album that sunk its claws into people. And some of the masses responded by getting it inked on their body:

Lots of Ugly Organ tattoo.

This album, hot on the heels of Bright Eyes’ seminal LIFTED, was what cemented Saddle Creek as the indie label of the early 2000s.

And it doesn’t take a long-winded Pitchfork review to tell you that The Ugly Organ, perhaps in spite of being a concept record, still managed to captivate and compel its audience.

What Pitchfork will fail to flat out say through all of their self-righteous conjecture is that the album is at times a perfect, discordant mess. Other times, it takes some mettle to muster through, because of its… I don’t know, angularity?

The thing is, I have to continually remind myself when listening to this type of music or band that, even though I’ve been listening to Cursive for 12 or 13 some-odd years now, and even though they’ve done what I imagined to be big tours in support of classic albums… they’ll never gain crazy radio success or sell a shit ton of records.

Hell, as of just last week, Bright Eyes is the first Saddle Creek artist to sell a half-million copies of one album: I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.

I thought for sure he’d done it sooner and more frequently than just once, and more than 500k.
So while they won’t ever be a Tumblr “sensation” or sell out tours months in advance, I suppose that’s keeping with the legacy that is this type of music. It’s branded for a certain type of listener, and takes some digging to get too. It’s kind of like earning it. Almost.

But, I like that. And further, want to keep it that way.

From The Ugly Organ, this is Cursive’s “Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand” –

Standout tracks: “Sierra” and “Art is Hard”
Weakest track: The combination of “Herald! Frankenstein” and “Butcher the Song”

RIYL: Bright Eyes, Neva Dinova. Greta Cohn. Cello-infused indie rock.



One comment

  1. Pingback: Day 364 – #98. Cursive – Happy Hollow « One Record Per Day

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