Sun Kil Moon
Among the Leaves


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
May 26th, 2012 | 50 replies | 13,676 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mark Kozelek is back, whether he likes it or not

Among the Leaves is Mark Kozelek’s “Fuck it” album, even more so than those shitty cover albums he was pumping out a decade or so ago. What I mean by that is that it’s his first album of his where you can tell he just doesn’t care whatsoever about the reaction or backlash he’s going to receive. This, right here, is Kozelek pointedly not as the expert storyteller of Ghosts of the Great Highway, or the depressive romantic of April, or the ruminative sage of Admiral Fell Promises. Instead, Among the Leaves is notable for the bitterness and resignation of Kozelek’s lyrics; for the first time, Kozelek’s erratic and standoffish personality onstage shines through on record. Those looking for something akin to “Duk Koo Kim” are going to be very disappointed, but, once having adjusted to the frank and caustic lyrics, Kozelek’s newest ends up actually being his most entertaining record to date, offering a raw and personal account of life as the tragically unappreciated songwriter.

Of course, this being how Kozelek sees himself. (There is a song on here called “The Moderately Talented Yet Attractive Young Woman vs. The Exceptionally Talented Yet Not So Attractive Middle Aged Man,” for cripes sake, Kozelek firmly casting himself as the latter.) A common theme of Among the Leaves is the scorn Kozelek feels towards touring and the people he tours for, how the bumps and bruises of nonstop touring start to wear on a forty-five year old, the fact that he’s performing for overweight dudes that spend too much time on the Internet instead of the hot chicks that supposedly came to his concerts in the 90s, etc. Like, how much Europe sucks. And so on.

At first, listening to Kozelek bitch and moan can be jarring and sort of insulting, in a way, to the listeners, the “guys in tennis shoes” that still go to Kozelek’s concerts so he can make more albums. Yet further listens reveal deeper shades of Kozelek’s lyrics, as well as his penchant for awkward and dark humor that makes his concerts so disasterous (usually). Kozelek’s actually more self-effacing than he initially seems to be: he offsets his arrogance about his musical abilities with the harsh truths of his getting older in “Sunshine in Chicago,” and when he mocks the mind-numbing plight of the office drone, as he does in “That Bird Has A Broken Wing” (“I know you’re hating me pretty bad/But I at least I ain’t some tool named Brad/up at 7, home by 5/hasn’t gotten it up since wintertime”), there remains the uneasy, underlying fact that these men at least have things like wives, children, security.

Kozelek, instead, continues to live as he always has, constantly traveling (“UK Blues”), embarrassingly hooking up with unattractive women (“That Bird Has A Broken Wing”), reserving the most sympathy and emotion for the guy who makes his guitars (“Song for Richard Collopy”). The latter song is proof that Kozelek isn’t a bad guy – in it, Kozelek describes his affection for an old, wizened guitar maker, and sadness for his death – but touring and broken promises and failed relationships have forced him into depression and bitterness, which has resulted in this album. Among the Leaves lays bare the minutiae and day-to-day happenings of Mark Kozelek’s life, and how he’s learned to hate and yet live with his peculiar position on Earth, being the first real departure for the artist after years of mired in repetition. It’s about time he broke free.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
May 26th 2012



3743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wrote this pretty quickly

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



14989 Comments


waffles.fm is down so i'll probably get this in a week or so but...i wasn't a huge fan of "sunshine in chicago" and the idea of kozelek turning into something of a clown doesnt appeal too much to me but i have faith, i guess

i love "admiral fell promises"

Archelaos
May 26th 2012



241 Comments


What I mean by that is that it’s his first album of his where


*the.

Decent work, however there are a handful of errors and some awkward phrasings here, but you should likely be able to pick them out from a second glance.

robin
Emeritus
May 26th 2012



4241 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i really love this record cam. it walks some really weird line between a kozelek who is like "i don't give a shit haha im so awful!" and one who seems to really sincerely care beneath it. idk. but i love it and it's quite a carefree album at the end of the day

i also love you

wabbit
May 26th 2012



6978 Comments


so I guess I really need to get this.

tom79
May 26th 2012



3363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm liking this. It's seems pretty different from anything he's done under the Sun Kil Moon moniker,
but I like the more personal and at times humorous lyrics. I've never really disliked anything Kozelek
has released though. 'Track Number 8' is fantastic. Nice write-up Cam.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

FelixCulpa
May 26th 2012



1237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"quite a carefree album at the end of the day" I really enjoyed that aspect of the album too. Nice review cam.

DoubtGin
May 26th 2012



6748 Comments


awful

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2012



23798 Comments


Never really loved these guys I guess I suck

Knott-
Emeritus
May 26th 2012



10194 Comments


Kozelek could simply care less

is this an americanism because i hate it

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 26th 2012



3743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no it should say could not care less or something along those lines but i cant edit dis shit

and there's other stuff that needs changed what is wrong wit this website

tommygun
May 26th 2012



23597 Comments


Why do (a lot of) Americans say 'could care less' when they mean the opposite?

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Romulus
May 26th 2012



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i'm happy this is getting some positive reception. i figured people would tear this apart but i think it's up there with his best work

it is pretty disarming on the first couple listens though, i mean admiral fell promises gave no hint that this was coming

auberginedreams
May 27th 2012



5989 Comments


"Kozelek could simply care less"

please change this.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2012



14989 Comments


he cant

auberginedreams
May 27th 2012



5989 Comments


oh yeah i forgot about that. it's still annoying though.

patrickfannon
May 27th 2012



886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Where might a lad such as myself find a torrent for this gem?

Digging: A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders

auberginedreams
May 27th 2012



5989 Comments


google

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2012



30882 Comments


he cant


Mods can change any errors that you wish to fix in your reviews

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Acanthus
May 27th 2012



9537 Comments


Really seems like a personal album by the description, self loathing can make for some fun music.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door



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