Day 266 – #104. David Bazan – Strange Negotiations

David Bazan - Strange Negotiations Album Review

Up top, real quick, wanna say something: today is day 266, which means there are now a double digit amount of days left in this project. I’m a little overwhelmed by that, but if you’ve ever read a post or looked at my inanities, thank you so much. It really means a lot. There have been times in this thing that I just did not want to write at all, but I feel obligated to see this thing through. I’m flabbergasted by the amount of support and response I’ve gotten for this thing, and where it’s led me – to the nation’s capital, but 900 miles from my family and dog (and friends… them too). I’ve been thinking a little bit about January 1, 2014, and not having to write anything that day, and I don’t know if I can even comprehend the thought at this point. Not yet. Not for a while. Not until maybe even the last week of December.

…or at least until my next project idea.

Again, if you’re reading this: thank you. It means the world to me.

Sometimes, all it takes is a single song to make an album.

Sure, this can work in reverse. See: one-hit wonders. But in recounting to friends or those close to you about bands you like, what are the songs you rattle off in succession? Singles? Deeper cuts?

On occasion, it’s just one track. That track is everything. On David Bazan’s second solo album under his own name, Strange Negotiations, that song is “Level With Yourself”.

It’s a song that to me mimics some kind of religious experience, despite the fact that the album that precedes it is Bazan’s break-up letter to God.

As he did on his debut release Curse Your Branches, Bazan writes in plain, unbridled language. As a guy who is notorious for writing mid-tempo songs his entire career, this should come as no surprise. But the strength of the delivery and the power of his honesty is what sets Bazan apart from every other dude with a guitar and a microphone.

And though I will admit to being a bit underwhelmed by Strange Negotiations my first spin through, likely because it doesn’t hit me as hard as Curse did with its underlying theme, it’s still a blue-collar album with a solid message.

That’s just who he is.

If you know anything about his tremendous living room shows, this much is evident. If not, I encourage you to read this article from Consequence of Sound about the whole process.

I’m fascinated by the whole process as outlined in the article, and it’s one of the most inventive, forward-thinking ideas to come out of this bizarro music scene the last half a decade or so.

And for what it’s worth, “Messes” and “Don’t Change” are straight up the closest to any more Headphones songs we’ll ever see.

From Strange Negotiations, this is “Wolves at the Door” –

Standout tracks: “Wolves at the Door,” “Level With Yourself,” “Eating Paper”
Weakest track: For me, probably “Won’t Let Go”

RIYL: Honesty as the best policy. Pedro the Lion, Headphones, TW Walsh, singer-songwriters.



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