Archive for February, 2011

Iron and Wine – kiss each other clean

A CD arriving in the mail is about as close to ecstasy as my straight-edge lifestyle will allow me. But if anything, Iron and Wine’s kiss each other clean is more like a joint of marijuana making me sink deeper and deeper into my seat moving into a lying down position. Some occasional acid flash back will fly in with a couple funky grooves intertwined in this new album by a notoriously “chill” band (yes, I did flog myself 40 times with a cat-of-nine-tails in penance for using the word “chill”, but unfortunately, I’m remiss in finding a better term both in perfect definition and connotation).

I prevented myself from reading Pitchfork’s review of this album before I write this entry for my own sense of honor so that whatever I say in this review is actually an original thought of mine. I could not prevent myself from looking at that menacingly powerful numerical summation of opinion Pitchfork likes to wield like a flaming sword striking down the weak and knighting the strong into eternal musical criticism adulation. I was shocked to find that number to be so low. Yes, a 7.7 isn’t exactly a flunked album by Pitchfork standards, but surely they must realize what rules they’re breaking (at least by what expectancies I have of Pitchfork).

Pitchfork’s “best new music” albums are usually a select few that either come out of nowhere, or have been marinating in the Pitchfork news for quite a good deal of time. The numerical rating has thus far been a product of a positive correlation between the amount of hype Pitchfork puts towards an artist or album and the number from 1 to 10 (with decimals (why don’t they just go a scale of 1 to 100 already and quit looking like pricks?)). For example, the Pitchfork staff had been drooling over Kanye West for close to a year over his new work and his inclusion of Bon Iver on his new album, and the result was a 10.0 album by Pitchfork’s standards. Yeah, it was a good album, but I can’t see 10.0. The ironic thing is that Pitchfork condemns hype from any other source.

All that to say I was surprised that this album received a 7.7 despite the hype. Do I really care? Well, a little bit.

What do I think? I like the album. I like Iron and Wine’s perseverance in the melding of their own style, but I also like their progression into an album that is just a little bit different. I may not agree with what I can only see as dualism that Sam Beam is talking about in the final lines of “Your Fake Name is Good Enough for Me”, but will I keep listening to the album? Yes, I believe I will. The important thing to get out of all of this and my ramblings of animosity towards Pitchfork contradictory to my rather unsafe reliance on it, is that I like Iron and Wine’s kiss each other clean.

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