Saddle Creek | The Good Life | Reviews


Album of the Year

Author: Kyle Undem
09/08/2004 | | | Album Review
"The first time that I met her I was throwing up in the lady's room stall" is the first line Tim Kasher sings on the title track of Album of the Year, the Good Life's third full-length. And, really, this album couldn't have a more fitting opening line. From there Kasher leads us through the good and bad of this connection. The good being love making, star gazing, getting a studio apartment in Council Bluffs, and the bad being giving back records, pots and pans, and a toaster, and ultimately being alone, again.

If you're familiar with the Good Life - more specifically, Tim Kasher (Cursive) - you know very well that this guy has a very sinisterly heartening way of dealing with broken relationships. It's what the Good Life are all about - writing song after song about that one relationship that turned horribly sour and making it sound so ungodly depressing that you can't help but bask in the depression surging from each distinct track.

Through the twelve tracks on Album of the Year, Kasher and company take us from April all away around the calendar year to March leaving us with no sign of optimism for the next year. Everything about the disc screams piss-drunk confused darkness, much like the Good Life's previous works. However, this one is the most alarming of them all as Kasher has upped the ante in coupling the most dismal lyrics with the most downtrodden (at times) music.

While a majority of the album is pretty characteristically slow and subjugated, there are a few tracks that exponentially condescend Kasher's outlook. Take "Lovers Need Lawyers" for example. The two-and-a-half-minute jolly rocker makes it seem as if Kasher is actually happy that lovers, in fact, do need lawyers. And maybe he is as he convinces himself that he "could never take another's hand / it's to you I'm condemned."

While "Lovers Need Lawyers" is the most bouncy track on the disc, don't think the Good Life forgot to write that token ultra-taking, ultra-breathy, ultra-make-you-want-to-kill-yourself song. This comes by way of "October Leaves" and it'll be sure to have the same effect that "The Competition" (Novena on a Nocturn) has: just downright saddening.

It most definitely is a sobering ride following the Good Life and their drunken mishaps throughout Album of the Year. One would think songs of this nature would eventually play themselves out. Really, how many songs can you write about being drunk off your ass at the end of a bar your ex is bartending at, lying in your own drunken hopelessness? Keep 'em coming, Good Life. Keep 'em coming.

Album of the Year

Album of the Year

LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3