So I finished listening to Tomboy. It is just about the best time I can ever remember listening to an album. I keep harping on about it in this blog but I think it's important to let art do with you what it wants. Artistic rapture! How cool!! I love reading about how at the premiere performance of Beethoven or whatever people cheered for two hours or when after Liszt would finish playing people would tear apart his piano and eat it or whatever. In the future maybe they will say of Tomboy "At least one kid was so overwhelmed by the part of 'Surfers Hymn' when most of the backing instrumentals are dropped out to leave Panda Bear singing alone that he dropped his jaw and looked around the room as if waiting for someone to confirm that, yes, he was hearing this, and finding no one, looked to the heavens instead." or maybe "Same kid later decided that sitting was too distracting and decided to lie on the floor with his headphones on and the lights off."
This thing blew me away. It is really good music. Actually I dunno what aspect of that surprised me as the producer is a Spaceman alumnus and P. Bear never disappoints. So I guess they made the album they had to make! Everyone can pack up and go home!!
Actually I did have some concerns though. Well first off I was just worried about my ability to enjoy it as absolutely as much as even possible. I was like oh man should I listen to the singles???? Will that spoil me??? And I did obviously and I loved them but HONESTLY, I was a bit, NOT BLOWN AWAY? I guess?
I guess the thing was is he was all, "guitar focused less sample based" etc, right? And guitar music, I dunno, maybe I just can't get too excited for rock music these days? I dunno. I KINDA WANTED Person Pitch 2.0 QUITE HONESTLY. That album sounded like it was from the future. It later turned out to be from the future or else everyone is ripping it off.
The Tomboy Singles sounds like someone from the sixties, like, BRIAN WILSON, to be the hundredth person to use that comparison, who through some gift has managed to see the next fifty years of music in some amazing vision, and he goes "nah okay I'm still gonna make Smile but now I'm gonna make it like this. And now I'm actually gonna make it instead of taking 20 years to make it. Yo ho ho!!!"
But it's not quite the future.
UH WHAT ELSE.
So yeah I was concerned a bit but
the studio mixes do sound like the future too.
Here's some TRACK BY TRACK action because I'm too excited right now to align my thoughts properly.
1 - "You Can Count On Me"
AHA I know I can. He talks about how he's up for stuff! I know he'll be up for stuff!! That's the exact level of sort of endearing semilame slang that I adore!! And then - a bunch of really strange lyrics! Ah, I love the lyrics on this album. On the tier list of good elements of this album it is on the top tier with the vocals and production and drums and sounds and guitar. OH AND THIS SONG HAS GOOD QUALITIES IN EACH OF THOSE CATEGORIES. the minimal production really works wonders here. I love those little samples~!! we get a sense of both focus and a bunch of like other stuff. like panda bear is sitting there in the middle singing so heartfelt and he's surrounded by things scurrying around him like woodland critters!!
2. - "Tomboy"
He sped up the drums a bit at the beginning and I was like "lol wtf" because even among the singles I played this one to the deathiest because it was out first and I knew it really well and then that really fuzzy guitar comes in and i was like "woaaaaaaaah hold on now" and then it was like wooooooooaaaaaaaaahhaaaahahahaa this is excellent!!! DRIVES LIKE A BUS with ALL THE SONG ELEMENTS GETTING ON AND OFF AS NEED BE. like one of those CRAZY BUS DRIVERS THAT WON'T SLOW DOWN because there's a BOMB ON THE BUS. and the fuzzy guitar gets on again later and it's like "how'd you get ahead of us?" and he's like "i will show you with my space symphony" and makes a really cool sound and you're like "man this bum's crazy" but you still think "well how'd he travel all those stops on foot so fast?" but by this time the bus is almost at the end of the line, which is SONIC HEAVEN, where it's just you and the bus driver and he like nods to you in confirmation, like, "yup, we're just gonna let this play out".
SPECIAL MENTION TO THE LYRICS:
Take my life
What's my life like?
What's my work like?
How do I pass time?
A VOICE OF OUR GENERATION. A VOOG. VOOOOOOOG.
3. - "Slow Motion"
There are three really, really, really good drum entrances on this album, and this is only the third best. SPACERAY SPLATTER is a good twist. this one CHURNS. if the last one was a bus this one is a laundromat. getting urban on you. swag. what counts??? okay 1. this song has really cool lyrics that make ya think. 2. the way the beat is like churning a long a bit behind the lyrics and the way the stuff in the background has it's own cycle going makes you think of like infinitely deep layers of gears all out of synch but making this wonderful machine like you zoom out from all this paradoxical and non-euclidean machinery and it's like a gazelle running along. 3. that one guitar(?) sound that's persistent through the whole thing is AMAZING. old underwater church organ. a tone with hollow meat on it. any crazy thing said about this album is basically true. 4. the way the song deconstructs at the end with the repetition in front of abrasive sound is an old AC trick but is used with unprecedented restraint and atmosphere!!!!
4. - "Surfers Hymn"
I had SUCH mad hype for this song ever since I heard a really good bootleg of it. i mean THAT MELODY. panda bear sometimes feels ASHAMED of his best melodies i swear. dumps like a million samples and other crazy crap on them just so it's cooler when you find them? or maybe he just thinks "yeah this is great look at how much it brings out of the other crazy crap!"? i dunno. the single definitely had this in spades with weird sounding echoes and wacky effects and samples up the Yangtze. SONIC BOOM steps it down a notch and really lets this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful tune breathe a bit. not that PANDA BEAR does when at his most naked he delivers that AWESOME verse it's like:
How do I know its time?
Even if I've got mine,
Is it wise to know what wisdom is?
If I could err on every good side every time...
and that last line is so powerful and so sustained and then and then and then BAM FULL JAM. but it's like a different jam than previous AC jams. MELODY JAM.
5. - "Last Night At The Jetty"
Second best drum intro on the album. they start sparse, then they get funky juicy. then right when they've done their part "DREEEEEEEEEEEAMS THAT WE ONCE HAD, DID WE HAVE FUN ANYWAYS?" that crap's been my ANTHEM, man! This song starts in high gear and hits overdrive quick. then it goes into a whole new gear on the "I KNOW" breakdown. this is the evolution of "Chores". and them spooky ghost noises or whatever behind it oh man, that just seals the deal. and then:
I don't want to describe something that I'm not
I don't want to hide the hopes that I have
I want to enjoy what's meant to enjoy
Not try to find slights and slurs to employ
NOAH LENNOX man you are like my HERO.
This outro is bananas!
This might be my favorite song on the album!!!
6. - "Drone"
NOPE I LIED. I like this one even better. "Drone" is like a sacred word to me I mean you got your mystic metal genre, you got your mythic Boards of Canada tracks, you got your harsh drone from Japan, you got like, all sorts of cool stuff for this word. and now THIS SONG. This song just NAILS IT. It's like, what could he do with a song called "Drone"? aand then you think "what else could he call this song?"
"Now I see you again
Now I feel you again
Now I know you again
Now I see you again"
AHH! This is a sequel to "A Lover Once Can No Longer Now Be a Friend"! No it isn't but I think those are the two most underrated Panda Bear songs. Assuming "Drone" becomes underrated. Which it might be. Because no one understands a good drone! But the one on this track is great. It is "beach drone".
7. - "Alsatian Darn"
Best drum intro on this album. I like this song better than the last one. I wish I was good at visual art so I could draw how I feel like this song goes. I wish I was good at writing so I didn't need. Okay lemme try this though: it starts like racing along, like, preakness horse racing, or whatever. and then it zooms out from that and it's like, the crowd. and then you zoom out further and it's like the commentators, but it's like, celestial commentary. it's like they're commenting on the crowd, not the horses. they being transcendentally human. i didn't get that horse race commentators commentating on people from ulysses, no sir. and then the commentators get into some sort of agreeable tangent and they start just celebrating or something. and the original focus is lost, and you're zooming further out to see a brilliant cosmic ballet that's like, in honor of the horse race even though the horse race is totally irrelevant to them on any sensible scale. and it just gets bigger and more intense. and by the end stuff is coming on screen that you just can't process anymore. eventually it just zooms out so much that everything we've seen is a barely visible dot in the centre. that is the music video i would make for this song.
okay looking at the lyrics what is this actually about. NO I WON'T EVEN QUOTE THEM, they are too good. okay one: "Only feel a chill whenever I come out of my shell"
probably my favorite track
8. - "Scheherazade"
Aha, piano. they (AC) haven't made a song like this in awhile and no one else would have the guts to try. even when radiohead does this they get some sort of like, musical responsibility and freak about it sounding stagnant or plodding or whatever. that's fine, but slowness and plodding and the weight that carries is also fine. YOU'RE GONNA CARRY THAT WEIGHT. an aside but i like that line. so this thing is murky stuff. gravagia stuff. and then near the end panda bear does a "woooo-oo-oo-ooo-ooooo-ooooh" that is like direct from another AC song that i cannot think of but i know i will later. but yeah this is great! eerie! totally different than avey tare's eerie dark slow stuff and different again to recent AC stuff like this. those seemed to have the whole natural aesthetic of animal collective somewhere in them but this is like, nature, sure, but the dead parts. old caves. dead meadows. ozymandias cities fer that matter. named after the arabian nights lady for what that's worth. these lyrics almost carry over from the last song. oh snap i wonder if this is telling a story. oh man i would love if that's the case. but anyways yeah gravaja i'm at like 1/16th over here BAM.
9 - "Friendship Bracelet"
BAM what a nice start. This sounds like something one of them new noise acts would make. Even the title. Even the vocals sort of. This is a "noise jam". things happen, so they happen. "hypnotic". transition at the halfway point is so friggin natural sounding you'd think you just watched the song age gracefully like a child. the difference in tempo between nearly all the elements is engrossing. and the SOUNDS. he just took that knob on the big animal collective mixing board that said "cool sounds" and cranked up for the first time on the album and it's like a big thing opened from the roof and dumped animal noises and whistles and drums and jesus i don't know if i knew what could make sounds like this i would make music with them, and it dumped them all on the track. the ending is phenomenal. jam of 2011, yes i'm right. not of the lifetime though that's still brother sport.
10. - "Afterburner"
The beginning sounds like it'd fit in one of the more Aztec areas of Yume Nikki. This album is flinging my brain around to every corner. It is cross country touring every aesthetic I can think of. And then yeah, can you hear how cool that bass line is? so percussive and yet, like, rounded!
lyrics might be about making music. i love when he sings about making music. see: "CARROTS". also SEE THESE LYRICS, GOT DAMN:
So it moves forward
I'll always ask, always
What's the point?
You'll make it, you'll make it up, you'll make it.
It's not late, it's not too late, it's not late
To keep it real
You ask me to keep it real, you ask me
Well I don't buy
I don't buy it
So leave it alone
says SO MUCH when you think about it. this song keeps it SO REAL. did i mention how AUTHENTIC and EXUBERANT and EXPOSED the vocals are on this album and how it keeps you feeling VERY EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED to ol' Noah? Well they are! And it's funny i'm talking about the lyrics/vocals that is not even this song's strongest suit! but it's like they have an ace in lyrics and an ace in vocals and the jack and ace of sounds and the jack of rhythm. but he isn't playing alone oh no he's still in it with sonic boom who like, really really shows his stuff here. fun fact: i listened to this album in the dark blah blah sacred music experience, anyways, i thought this was the last song! yeah! and one of the things i do with albums is i like to place a lot of importance on the closing track, and i was like, yes, this is an amazing finish. this is a great ending. because the ending of this song is like, well, earlier i called something sonic heaven, but that was really like, the talking heads version of heaven. this is the dante version of sonic heaven. and you're riding on a BIG WHALE. i love the acoustic guitar at the end! holy crap i love that acoustic guitar and how they bring it in!
11. - "Benfica"
OHO but it is NOT the last track, who would have thought? well maybe i would have if i remembered that i knew "benfica" was the last track and that the song i just heard didn't sound like a song that should be called "benefica" THIS IS A SONG that should be called "BENFICA". i really like that name. this is angelic stuff, this is what they come up with to improve upon themselves in sonic heaven. so much RESOLUTION in this song! resolution of the musical themes of the album! see how all the drums have CALMED THEMSELVES into pearlized and perfect versions of their previous tone! the guitar has evaporated! air guitar!! it sounds great! listen to the WIND play that RIFF. and all sounds have evolved! oh and lyrical themes are resolved!
To win is not
All that it's about
It's just a macho thing to say
But there is not a thing more true
or natural than wanting to win
There's not a thing more true...
WOAH. i need to think on that!! and the distortion at the end! oh man! what a great album!
what a fun review to write!!!
later i might write a more sensible one!
like when i put it at probably like 1 or 2 in my list of the best albums of 2011!!
which should come out in 2020 at the rate i'm working on my 2010 list!!!
seriously though 2011 is such a great year for music! it's like 2007 the sequel!!!
also a great year for everything!!!!
didn't mean to stay up this late!! good night i hope you like the album!!!!
it gets a 10/10 or something????