WVAU 2015: Most Overrated Albums

Eli Fosl, Kathleen Lovito

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I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty

Courtesy of  Flac-Lossless

You‰’re sitting at a bar in Bushwick waiting for your date. It‰’s a blind date that your friend set you up on and you‰’re feeling really weird about the whole thing. Your friend said the guy was someone you‰’d like and that, in addition, he “really needed to get out more, so you‰’d be doing him a favor.‰” You order a glass of wine to calm your nerves and, right as you‰’re taking your first sip, he arrives. He‰’s good-looking in an art school dropout sort of way, and he‰’s tall with a beard that‰’s impressive but kind of turns you off with its unkemptness. He‰’s wearing a blazer over an old Slayer t-shirt, something that would normally call for an eye-roll, but you refrain. He takes off his Ray Ban knockoffs and reaches to shake your hand. He “can‰’t believe we‰’re on a blind date forreal.‰” He sits and asks what wine you ordered. He acts interested but quickly adds that he doesn‰’t drink California wines. He orders a pint of a stout from a local microbrewery. It seems intense for, what is it, two in the afternoon? But whatever, he could be nervous too, give the guy a chance.

You chat for a while, or he talks for quite a while, and you throw in your own comments here and there. He says he recently left a band to pursue a solo career. He describes his work as “intellectual, absurd, sardonic, grandpa folk-rock,‰” though he doesn‰’t like to attach labels to it. You start to get a weird sense of someone like the kids from your high school that discovered Pitchfork too late in the game and got high before Vampire Weekend shows and wore Uncle Tupelo t-shirts as trophies of pride. You think it‰’s impossible that any adult could have failed to have grown out of that stereotype. He says you should come see him some time though he doesn‰’t play open mics anymore because he couldn‰’t stand “all those kids that think they‰’re poets or rappers or whatever.‰” He also seemingly won‰’t shut up about his ex, who he sort of disrespects even though she seems cool by his description: a sculpture artist from Philly. You can‰’t tell if she hurt him, or if he‰’s just being a casual misogynist. He finally asks you about your life and you quietly go on about your work and your roommates and your hobbies. He starts to look a little bored with you and it makes you feel bad even though you know you didn‰’t do anything wrong. He invites you to see Carly Rae Jepsen on Friday, but he says so in a way so that you can‰’t tell if he‰’s joking. You‰’re busy that day anyways. You tell him you‰’ve been trying to write more and he starts to give advice even though you didn‰’t ask.

Another patron goes up to the jukebox and your date excitedly peers over, waiting to see what he puts on. The first few notes of Yo La Tengo‰’s “You Can Have It All‰” soar out and your date laughs. “Really original song choice. Great band, though.‰” He looks at the ground and you don‰’t know what to say. Was that a joke? He asks you if you‰’ve read any good books lately, and you tell him you have, that you picked up a bestseller the other day and have really enjoyed it so far. He says he doesn‰’t read much new stuff and is currently “perusing the collected letters and journals of James Joyce.‰” You don‰’t really have anything to say. The jukebox shuffles to a Kendrick Lamar song, and you comment this is one of your favorites. He looks a little disappointed and you start to feel uncomfortable. After downing your second glass of wine, you make up a hair appointment so you can leave. He says he knows how hard it can be to take good care of your hair. Looking at his 2012 Brad Pitt appearance, you can‰’t tell. You joke that he should put it up in a bun more. He doesn‰’t respond and looks away. You quickly leave, cursing your friend who set you up with this guy under your breath.

At home you realize he sent you a friend request and you accept out of social awkwardness. His page is mostly selfies with ironic hashtags like “#lit‰” on him at a coffee shop, or “#whippinwork‰” with him at his laptop, or “#turnup‰” for him in the park. Weeks and months go by and eventually he slips from your mind. One day you see a status from him and decide to read it, as it‰’s very long. He announces he‰’s deleting his Facebook and leaving his phone and computer in the past. He‰’s found a diner in Chicago that Bruce Springsteen apparently used to frequent, and he thinks he will gain new life experiences by working there as a waiter, surrounded by strangers and “free from the emotional tethers of a society obsessed with promoting self-image ad nauseum on countless bird-related media outlets.‰” You can‰’t believe what you‰’re reading and for a second try and figure out if it‰’s serious. You sit back and think momentarily you should write about this, write something about your brief and surreally annoying encounter with this weird, out-of-touch-at-34 dude. But, come on. You realize that would be a dumb and clichÌ© piece of writing no matter what you tried to do with it. You realize, in reality, no writing about that man‰’s life and ludicrous perceptions of the world could be anything more than just simply boring. 

-Elijah Fosl

Depression Cherry by Beach House

Courtesy of  WCVW

Before we begin this discussion on the heartthrob album of suede-clad sad kids everywhere, let me just say that I get it, but also please stop. Because, yes, Depression Cherry has all the ~feels~ your despairing, parasitic soul craves, but it‰’s also a nine-track-deep pool of bittersweet molasses goop. It‰’s delightful, but, rather than supplying a sugar high, wading through each track only depletes your stamina and leaves you desperately craving a bite of a more zesty tune.

Now, if by some divine miracle you‰’ve managed to escape the silent siren call of Depression Cherry‰’s plush velvet cover, let me assure you that it‰’s a beautiful album. Each track is a master collection of seductive croons, breathtaking drones, and ambient noise that enchants from the first measure. It‰’s good ole Beach House doing what they do best: being the poster child for dream pop.

The album is by no means overrated because of its musical qualities (although their latest release, Thank Your Lucky Stars, seems to do all the same stuff but better). The real issue is how Depression Cherry‰’s intricacies are often drowned out by passionate vocalizations of Beach House zealots that go a little something like: “CRY. CRY. CRYING. TEARS. SO MANY TEARS. ALL OF THE TEARS. TEARS 4 DAYZ. BAWLING FOREVER.‰Û

These dream pop junkies are more concerned with the nightmares the genre addresses which, I mean, is fine because music‰’s the “language of the soul‰” and all that jazz, but your soul needs to take a chill pill. I haven‰’t gotten a chance to see Beach House live yet, but, with all the weeping I‰’m lead to believe would take place, I image playing “Space Song‰” off my computer just loud enough to hear it‰’s drones in-between sobs of a personal cry-sesh would be an near-identical experience.

Besides, why THIS album? Why THESE songs? As solid and reliable a band Beach House is, they‰’re producing the same strung out tunes as the rest of the genre. Am I missing something? Was something slipped into the water of Depression Cherry fans or does the album come with some or Cracker Jack-style prize I missed? Please let me know if that‰’s the case and maybe I‰’ll reconsider my stance but, until then, it‰’s overrated. sorrynotsorry. The end.

-Kathleen Lovito

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WVAU 2015: Most Overrated Albums