I was listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered today, and they described Bjork’s music as “celestial.” I think there are many moments that My Brightest Diamond does the same thing, even if not in such a grandiose way, on this album.
I think a lot of that celestial feeling in My Brightest Diamond comes from the delicate weaving of strings, harp, moody piano bass, and breathy background vocalisations. And *that* is exactly what I find so enchanting about this body of work. It is graceful and violent. But! I am not here to talk about the album as a whole, but just the beautifully bitter “The Diamond;” which incidentally is my very first MBD song. *sigh*
I can tell you first off that what drew me into the murky and lovely universe of “The Diamond” is Shara Nova’s dark tinted, breathy delivery. She also is very talented at giving stony, sharp reproaches–which you can hear in this song’s lines “are you coming?” and “you must feel splendid.”
I really love the drums in this track, which are muted and almost sound canned. There is also a very light guitar tremolo in parts that remind me of the slight tremble in a tense voice. It’s one of those parts that is easy to miss, but would completely change the texture of the song if it weren’t there. Also, Maeve Gilchrist on harp is just phenomenal. Her part starts out slow and spaced, but builds into the verses in such a way that you feel like you are being carried away on a wave. It is perfect and in my opinion, is what makes this track sparkle.
Honest to stars, if you’ve never listened to My Brightest Diamond’s “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth,” please please give it a whirl. You’ll need a quiet time, some candles and possibly some wine or maybe a toasty cup of coffee and a cloudy day, but it is well worth giving it the space to breath it’s beauty into your life.
This song very rapidly and unexpectedly became my anthem for around the clock–walking to work, working, walking home, showering, and knowing me–singing it in my dreams. I never seek out Modest Mouse songs, they just sort of *find me* when I need them the most.
I think, in part, it was really the only appropriate theme song for my approaching-return-of-saturn apprehension. In general the lyrics are basically like, “if life isn’t gonna be a damn ball, then I’m fucking going down with it” hammered throughout with the “PLEASE bury me with it!” This was clicking really well with my nostalgic review of my 20’s–what was really rad that I don’t want to lose? What do I never want to experience ever, ever again? All underlined by Isaac Brock’s exasperated delivery of “I just don’t need none of that Mad Max bullshit.”
In terms of composition, the track has a lot of “regular visitors” from the Modest Mouse sound–not a bad thing. This quality helps you “feel like home” in many of their songs. I do love the little repeated bass licks in this track. It really helps keep it all moving forward. It’s also really fun to listen to how the drums and bass sort of flow in and out of each other–it’s very subtle, but is cool to focus on through a listen.
All in all, this is a great jam. In the same breath, I don’t know that I’d offer this as a first Modest Mouse song to a new listener. It’s sort of like your rowdy, drunk friend. They are a blast to hang out with, but it might be a little awkward to introduce them to a stranger before they sober up.
This song is so damn hypnotic. I considered not giving it a second shout out, since I’ve already reviewed it as new music–which, itself, was really just a redirect to the awesome Pfork review. BUT. It is really that fucking good.
I was already in love with it when I decided to make the purchase, and it has really blossomed into a steady obsession and is in the regular “pretend I’m a rock star in the shower” rotation. It has this slurry dubstep bass that just pulls at the raw part in my soul. This alone is enough to suck me into the jam time and again, but on top of that it has this beautiful sonic counterpoint of his soft, angelic melody floating through the verses–so that just as you are about to drift off into some falsetto induced reverie, you get hit with this deep, sludgy pounding that wakes you right the fuck up.
It really is a magic track. If you STILL haven’t listened, please. do. You won’t regret it, I promise. : D
Before I begin to dig into this EP, I would first like to shout out a really great review done on big bad Pfork on The Fragile.
Onwards. I am enjoying the heck out of this record. It is certainly not a groundbreaking NIN album, but if you’ve got a good speaker system or some juicy headphones, treat yourself to the sonic delights of perfectly produced music. Reznor is really good at splitting channels in songs, which doesn’t come to it’s full potential until the listener pops on a headseat and is trapped in an aural teeter-totter. (Side note, this is also a way to hear some lyrics better. On many tracks the wall-of-sound is hard-panned to one side and then the lyrics come out crisp and clear on the other.)
I would also like to take a moment to address some oddities I found on the interwebs before I began: One of his grimiest records since Downward Spiral (wuh-hut??); blasé reviews on The Slip & Hesitation Marks (is. you. doin??); no one ever talking about Ghosts I-IV (bruh.) So for those in the back who weigh in when they feel like having an opinion on a record they half-assed listened to once: fuck all y’all. To me there are only two reasons to have these dumb ideas: you haven’t gotten over Downward Spiral and expect every album to be more of the same (ew) OR you hopped on the wagon because you thought With Teeth was awesome (double ew). The reason why Ghosts I-IV is so important to the catalog is that it concludes the content of the previous albums and ushers in the new era. Essentially, Year Zero is what With Teeth was supposed to be–the capstone to anger and desolation & in the same moment restored fans faith in Trent Reznor. So, everything that has been made since Ghosts I-IV is the new age of Nine Inch Nails. You will need to accept and enjoy complex electronic rhythms, exploration into new genres (world, jazz, funk), and letting your mind meditate in the atmospheric murk if you want to continue to appreciate their albums.
Now that the emotional vomit is out, let’s move on.
- “Branches / Bones” really showcases the industrial-wall-of-sound that Reznor has been cultivating at least since The Fragile‘s “Starfuckers, Inc.”, if not much earlier. It’s sort of like screaming into a pillow before having a hard conversation and it works as a nice wake-the-fuck-up track.
- “Dear World,” is so drum heavy it makes it hard to breath. When all the sounds are combined there is no pause, no rest. So when it breaks out into thinner layers it feels like a relief. And right when it stops and you can hear yourself think for a second, in pumps the 2-channel voice layers. It’s very The Slip and very tasty.
- “She Gone Away” is so rad. I love nothing more than the gravelly bottom of Reznor’s range, yum yum yum. On a more serious note, both the music and vocal arrangements are very reminiscent of Puscifer songs; and I can’t help but wonder if this is what the never-materialized Reznor-Maynard album would have sounded like. The bassline is basic and mesmerizing. If Not the Actual Events is some sort of nostalgia tour then the drum and bass interplay on this track definitely reeks of The Fragile‘s “I’m Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally.”
- The chanty/yelly vocal parts on “The Idea of You,” oddly enough, remind me a lot of Faith No More. And if Trent whispering in the background ala “Closer” and “I Do Not Want This” is your heaven, then welcome to your next favorite track. AND, for those of you who have been bellyaching about “too much electronic,” here is your bleedin’ rock track.
- It’s very possible that “Burning Bright (Field on Fire)” is my favorite song of the bunch. The opening stanza “I’m goin’ back/ Of course I am/ As if I ever had a choice/ Back to what I always knew I was/ On the inside/ Back to what I really am” feels like a lyrical home. And on a much more personal note, is really resonating with my ever closer return-of-Saturn. The music is grimey, crunchy and electric. There are also moments where the bass guitar and bass drum drop at the same moment and give that endlessly deep sound I most often associate with the most soul ripping Korn drops (I know, I know, who makes Korn references–but. it. applies.) I always feel a little blah about rock artists imitating fascist rallies ala NIN, Manson, Pink Floyd, etc. Mostly because I have a deep concern about/experience with this being turned by some less critically-analyzing fans into these bands condoning Nazism, which as far as I can tell is the exact opposite of what the artists are doing. But in this case, it’s faint enough that I can kind of stop and enjoy the journey instead of being worried about Reznor acci-encouraging neo-Nazi assholes.
Overall this EP is good. It does have a lot of compositional overlap with previous albums, but it’s enjoyable, not a drag. It feels kinda like a B-sides collection. Who doesn’t love B-sides? My bigger hope is that…does that mean we’re gonna get another tour?? Because man, oh man, does Reznor put on amazing. fucking. shows. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to cross my fingers, hold my breath, and wish upon a star.
This is one of my fav songs and occasionally I get re-addicted. For “12 Black Rainbows” this is sometimes more than once a year.
I first get hooked with the chugging guitars and “oh”s in the intro. The music itself, although good, is nothing especially unique to goth-metal. Almost every Type O song that I love is like 95% Peter Steele being an amazingly seductive vocalist and lyricist. To me, this is the gothy equivalent of “let’s get fucked up.” By the time I hit the wind up of the bridge’s “cause I’m already dead,” it’s just like pass me the bottle, let’s thrash. Elephants are a nice touch.
I don’t really have much deeper thoughts than that. Just go fucking listen to it on YouTube or something; or hell, go buy it! You won’t regret it. Even if you “don’t like metal;” just do it.
Here is a funny thing about bass singers for the road. Also can we just take a moment to appreciate the Peter Steele was 6′ motherfucking 8″ ??? Lawd.
5/5 always and forever
So I downloaded “Just Sayin/I Tried” awhile back and was super in love with it. It was like this ode to my ex-BFFF right when I was having that final wave of nostalgia before letting that shit GO. I dug that song so much that I was like, “Hey, maybe the people makes other musics.” And now I have this loverly groove.
First, the bassline is so friggin addicting. Sometimes I just play it to hear that sweet, sweet riff. The whole composition of the music itself is just dripping in sexy, smokey, get-fucked partytime. Then when you add Syd tha Kyd’s smooth vocals AND her ballsy lyrics…you can’t help but wanna slow grind on the dance floor.
PS I’m gonna start doing a five point rating for songs/albums. It will be pretty arbitrary; based on my mood that day, how addicted I am to the music and my current level of cynicism. : D