Review Summary: LISTEN. I've been drinking
I wonder how long it took DB to write Bay of Pigs. 11 minutes or a year? I wonder how good he is at improv. It sounds like he’s firing these ideas over a commissioned radio skit. Like he’s been repositioned a beat, or the wind is blowing in his shaggy hair and no-one’s around to hear. Does he know you can buy notebooks?
I recently tried to commit my crust and powerviolence enthused friend to listening to this album. He responded with some short thoughts: a) “Destroyer is the name of a really good KISS album b) people would like KISS if there wasn’t a stigma around them; if you played KISS and told someone it was New York Dolls, they would eat it up, and c) thus, logically, it follows that it’s funny a guy would name himself Destroyer and make ‘80s sex music.” I understand c), because I confused Defeater with Destroyer for the longest time and once ended up trying to convince someone the former was a big indie rock collaborator who played in the New Pornographers. I also confused him with Pig Destroyer before I knew who he was.
It stands to point that DB would release this album under the name Destroyer, though; it’s not a happy album. Actually, it’s a fu
cked up piece of music, about wastage and people eating up other people. DB clearly wears white live because he’s a bit of a glam rocker (Bowie shtick), and Kaputt
has a white-sheen feel to it, because DB knows quite well by now how juxtaposition works: you can’t clean up anger and drink. You just become passive-aggressive and unbelievable.
The best albums ever are the ones that you have an honest-to-god love affair with. My infatuation with this album is as long-winded as all the hate I gave it: the annoying synth-pop album that I thought it seems at one with the fact I’ve listened to the whole thing three times today. 2011 was a bit of a year for that. I remember Kaputt
through the sheer frequency with which I put it on, but all my opinions on it just sort of float away when I hear the music wash over.
No, I don’t really know anything about fretless bass.
I really love the idea that music is cyclical, so it probably makes sense: this album is good in the light, but so much better at night. It’s the sort of thing you’d look out your window to, preferably with a big, quiet skyline surrounding you.
Truly good lyricist that you are, “sha la la” is the best on an album as wordy and impossible as an overwrought Russian novel in which everyone declares their love for eachother more than they walk around the house.
And speaking of lyrics: DB writes aphorisms that never need to be mentioned again. Some of them are as good as Dylan’s, but they’re better, because they’re untouchable. You can circle back to a thought a hundred times if you’re a good storyteller; you can go through verses and land on the one line that makes sense of them all. If you’re this guy, you only need to say it as much as you need to say it. And so he warbles, and warbles, and sings about a different girl in every verse, with different descriptors, from smooth to ghastly, but when he needs to shoot a thought out, you’re only going to hear it once. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Is this a cocaine album? I enjoy it perfectly well without.
I put Bay of Pigs on a DIY-birthday-present list of inspirational songs, and then I wrote out the lyrics and realised that while DB is sure going to make me wish everything I said was gold, it probably isn’t going to move anyone to the kind of epiphany we all want to have. That is why it’s perfect; it is better than us.
Musicians who write songs about songs always have a way in with me. The song to self, and the love of self-sentiment, is precious. It’s the sort of thing that reminds us that music is another paranoia piece for those who make it to come home to. You can come home after a day of pure awful, but you’ve still got to write it all down. So of course DB despairs about it: in himself, and in others, letting Starship’s song crumble like the city it describes. It’s a pretty nifty way to make a point, I’d say: to vandalise and tear up everything we knew to the smooth sounds of jazz ‘n’ disco.
Everyone told DB his album was precious because it was clever; he had a song for that. He sung it as if to prove everyone he was right all along.
It probably took him 11 minutes to write Bay of Pigs. He doesn’t know where he’s going with it.