Saddle Creek | The Good Life | Reviews


Album of the Year

Author: Timothy Golden
08/20/2004 | | | Album Review
Nobody is as depressed as Tim Kasher. Album after album, whether it be with his wickedly successful band Cursive or on his own as The Good Life, he's come through with hands down the most tear-inducing music over and over. Completely filled with dark (sometimes maniacal) outlooks ln life, tales of hopeless grudge-fucking, and bitter tales of chasing and losing love, The Good Life's newest miserypiece Album of the Year is the ultimate soundtrack for the manic depressive.

Each song here was written during a different month of the year, and that's really where the album's title comes into play. Not because Kasher really thinks this is the best album of the year (although to some it may very well be), but because each song is presented as a moodpiece that displays what he was thinking about (or suffering with, it seems like) each month out of an entire year. And it may be weird to some because it doesn't start with January, but that just makes it all the more interesting -- it opens with the month of April, with a song that reflects the album's title. "Album of the Year" is one of the more Cursive-esque songs here, complete with the off-kilter beat and a tale that reflects very similarly the events that were all over Cursive's album Domestica. The track is very powerful, not just because it forces you to listen to the story very, very carefully, but because the instrumentation is so well-crafted. It leaves a very lasting impression long after the disc advances to the second track, "Night and Day". "Night and Day" is much quieter, but has just as much of an effect on the listener as its predecessor. It's not as immediate as "Album of the Year", but it's still eerie as hell.

The album is much more effective when Kasher is exercising his Mr. Bungle and Neutral Milk Hotel influences, which are both pretty apparent on tracks like "You're No Fool" and the other album highlight "Notes in His Pocket." Again, it's impossible to escape the lyrical prowess of these songs, and the listener will be completely enveloped from the very first note, and usually have to repeat each song numerous times before finally realizing and understanding how powerful each song really is.

There are some repeats and things listeners may be familiar with here as well, especially if anyone bought the fabulous EP Lovers Need Lawyers. The title track from that EP makes a return here in fantastic form, and fits quite well surrounding the acoustic-driven sappy drivel even though it's quite upbeat. The female-driven "Inmates" is definitely worth checking out, as well. Well, fuck that. The whole album is great. Sure, it's a little much to digest in one sitting, especially since each song demands so many repeat listens. Surely Kasher will forgive you if you pick favorites, but it won't be an easy choice -- there's so much good here and less than 40 seconds of bad. Amazing.

[Note: The first 1,000 copies were packaged with a second CD containing the entire album performed strictly with an acoustic guitar. Amazing stuff if you can get a hold of a copy with one.]

Album of the Year

Album of the Year

LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3