It is insane to me that today is the last day of the 200’s for this project. I’ve written recently about hitting a wall with some of the albums that have come up on this list. Before the project began, I anticipated some kind of block would show up eventually. But I’m proud that it’s really only been in this last third of the year that the mental fatigue has affected me to the point where I was turned off by the idea of writing about say, yet another Hives or Sigur Rós record.
So, rounding the final stretch of this venture, I’m motivated and encouraged by the fact that some of my favorite records are still out there (looking at you, …Burn, Piano Island, Burn! and The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me). The thought of doing a yearend “best of” list is also something I’ve been kicking around, because 2013 has been so, so good for music. It almost hurts to think about how many great records have come out this year. While I’m thinking about it, the one that has been slaying me the most lately is HAIM’s Days Are Gone. Masterful, poppy, guitar-driven rock by a trio of lovely sisters. Not a bad cut on that record.
Today’s jam is Twin Shadow’s 2010 debut, Forget. I’m pleased as punch to say that I was introduced to his music via a Last.fm stream. Of any music discovery tool, Last.fm has been the most kind and fruitful for me. I first heard “Five Seconds” from a stream which I conveniently don’t remember. Maybe Washed Out radio? The ‘chillwave’ tag? Unimportant. The point is, I heard it.
That song comes from his most recent full-length release, Confess, an album that I wrote had such an intense emotional connection for me, it was difficult to listen to at times, and even more so to write about. That record will hit home with anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship marred by petty, modern day inconveniences, intense jealousy, or infidelity (of either the physical or mental persuasions). Also, I said something that George Lewis, Jr., is a romantic anti-hero. I stand by my statement.
Forget is less concentrated in its themes of relationship difficulties than its successor, though they still no doubt fuel the emotion with which Lewis writes. Sonically, I’d say this album is in many ways less refined than Confess, but in a good way. Lewis’ voice is once again smooth as caramel, but the instrumentation takes a different feel than its elder.
Perhaps the reason I love this album is because much of Forget positively reeks of the influence of the Velvet Demigod himself: Prince. Put aside your opinion of the ubiquity of this neo-revival of 80s synth pop, because 1: you’re wrong and B: how can the greatest era of music in the history of modern man be denied? Please move to the front of the line if you answered, “It cannot.”
I will qualify these statements by saying this: there is something to be said about the emotional immaturity packed into the narrative of both of the Twin Shadow albums. Take, for example, a sample of the lyrics from “For Now,” on the B-side of Forget:
“Far gone are summer girls in bed with thankless boys / I don’t wanna believe in love.”
Maybe that’s why I identify so well with what Lewis has to say. Sure, we are all at different points in our careers utilizing these human body vessels, not just in the sense of age – but also in the health of our emotions.
Maybe that’s why I feel comfortable calling Lewis a romantic anti-hero. We both have much to learn about commitment or what it means to be in a gratifying, enriching relationship – of any sort, platonic or otherwise.
Maybe that’s why Forget is like picking dandelions in a field in comparison to Confess, a deeply intimate and at times very dark album.
And maybe that’s also why each record has a distinct feel: Forget is marked by an artist feeling his way in the dark, someone who has something to say while still trying to find his voice; and Confess, a visceral unpacking of the torment we put ourselves through when our relationships and friendships with the opposite sex embark upon uncomfortable, dangerous paths with “feelings” and “emotions.” It’s like amateur hour over here, isn’t it?
George Lewis, Jr.’s paradox: the fact that both of the Twin Shadow releases are characterized by this perplexing contradiction of being so. damned. easy. to enjoy musically while at the same time serving as the open book to his failures in love and life that I relate to well too… agh. That is everything.
P.S., his new song “Old Love / New Love” from the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack (alongside a tremendous HEALTH song, too!) is my shit.
It’s great to discover an artist with whom you share so much, even if it’s in a spiritually distant way. If that even makes sense. I feel like that’s the lexical gap talking.
From Forget, this is “Tyrant Destroyed” –
Standout tracks: “Tyrant Destroyed,” “Shooting Holes,” and “Castles in the Snow”
Weakest track: “Tether Beat”
RIYL: Washed Out, Neon Indian, How to Dress Well.