It is the gift of man
to live the days long
the nights longer
Journey to the stars
They worship the sun - Jandek
I’ve been simultaneously trudging through my lower rated items and my favorites. This is a favorite, one of those records you expect record freaks to know, but you’re never quite sure the notoriety of the record among younger people. The only reason it is here then, with obscurity dubious at best, is to pay tribute. This is Jandek at his best, in my opinion. There are melodies in the vocals. The playing is more ornamental, not too disconnected from the vocals. And the lyrics… oh my, Jandek is the perhaps, for the duration of this album, the single greatest lyricist I’ve ever encountered. In fact, given many listeners’ penchant for paying attention to lyrics over music, I am still shocked at the relative anonymity of this album (less than 200 RYM ratings).
The reason I think of this as blues is its lament. Jandek seems a weary soul, a person that has seen lawlessness in the midst of varying concentration. This is blues because this tempest moves the singer not, beyond perhaps imperceptible carving of sand through stone. The songs move through Jandek, yet their essence is not only observational but changed. Jandek is an observer, true, but he’s a conjurer as well. From his beach side seat, he summons magic, and knows, but declines to adjust, the movements of the stars, the tiny shellfish and the emotions of others.
I’m inclined to consider Jandek’s ’80s output to be the height of songwriting bordering on poetry. Each of these pieces imbues the listener with a constant sense of death, a perception of the life cycle as somehow unnatural, predatory. These songs, more than any other, succeed as casting their author as a martyr, a martyr burdened by knowing and feeling. By all indications, if you concentrate, if you’re able to piece outward appearances and see the system connected, grain of sand by grain of sand, water on the brain, the sun, it would not be illuminating or invigorating. No, it would send you into seclusion, force a flirtation with madness and slowly drain you of your ability to communicate. If you’re lucky, after a quarter century you can relax the shroud and work to alienate your audience.
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- princezaleski said: awesome piece. i love Jandek too, and this album is great.
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