Kurt Vile
Wakin on a Pretty Daze


4.1
excellent

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
April 15th, 2013 | 118 replies | 20,327 views


Release Date: 04/09/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A record that reads like a book penned from Vile's subconscious.

Kurt Vile's meekness is fascinating. See his cameo in Matador Records' promotional video, where he introduces his new track, “Never Run Away,” and pay attention to two things: Vile’s affection for his absolutely adorable daughter, and his discomfort with being documented listening to his own music. It isn’t that he dislikes his work-- rather, he seems to be relatively proud of it as a whole-- but it’s a condition with which all personally-driven songsters seem to be afflicted. Contrary to Vile’s last work, though, Wakin On A Pretty Daze has little to do with gloom. It’s instead a subtle sunray of energy, a ballad that’s likely about the songwriter's life-long relationship with his wife. It’s also all about the comfort of monotony, the thrill of knowing exactly what-- or in Vile’s case, who-- lies around the corner.

Much of Wakin On A Pretty Daze plays to this carefree tune, as one surmises from the album’s title. Any grammatical geek will have a playday either explaining the hilarious irony in Kurt Vile’s decision to leave the apostrophe off “Wakin’,” or pointing out that the musician probably just didn’t care. The latter seems likelier, considering Vile rarely discusses his songwriting process with much detail; minute as the point may seem, the lax punctuation rules in the album title show there are more important things at hand. And if that doesn’t do it, just listen to a few seconds of the album: the relaxed guitar rhythms, the straight-forward drums and breezy vocals. Nothing about the album screams subtlety, because that wouldn’t be subtle enough.

Wakin On A Pretty Daze comes into focus with context, though, as does any accomplished record. Without understanding that Kurt Vile is just another guy, his poetically vague nothings come across as little more than, well, vague nothings. The songwriter displays his compliance with life in just about any interview, from raving about his family to praising his hometown. Vile is content with his life, so why hurry? “Take your time, so they say, and that’s probably the best way to be,” he stammers in “Too Hard,” and the line’s rhythm is sluggish, not paying the track's actual rhythm a bit of attention. But anyone who says it needs to doesn’t understand the lyrical statement Wakin On A Pretty Daze makes as a whole-- it's all about the words, and the context behind them.

Kurt Vile takes his time with his music, and focuses in on what matters to him-- the guitarwork. Despite how easily the album may come across to first-time listeners, Vile himself admits to perfectionism in the studio, and a desire to get this “guitar composer-y record” to fruition. It shows with repeated listens, the sense that Kurt spent eternity perfectly orchestrating the guitar arrangements. Standout example “Was All Talk” is subtly layered guitar utopia, from the gradual effects to the delicate textures, but a proper listen will display the potency of Vile’s patient musicianship. Because for all the lengthy tracks at hand-- the average one is six minutes, for christ’s sake-- the spacious runtimes give the infectious melodies time to embellish, and reach the brink of their capabilities.

It’s undeniable that Wakin On A Pretty Daze means the most with an understanding of what Kurt Vile is all about. He lives, he writes songs about his life and then hopes others will connect with him. His music is a vessel of sorts, a book penned from Vile’s subconscious and written for our experiences, so that we can live his music the way he does.



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user ratings (260)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
teddycutler1 (4)
Dig beneath Kurt Vile's lazy hazy exterior and there are myriad more complex joys on offer....

Dan H. CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Psychedelic subtleties......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

"Wakin On A Pretty Day" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd0K76H7sU8
"Never Run Away" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR-eHTeXBKU

Also, the entire album's streaming on Spotify.

robin
Emeritus
April 15th 2013



4247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

we both talk about the never run away video hifive

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Whoa, cool! Did you write about this on PopMatters?

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013



875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dan 4.0. Jacob 4.1. Oh no you didn't.



robin
Emeritus
April 15th 2013



4247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah. good work also < 3

THOUGH

- but it’s a condition with which all personally-driven songstresses seem to be afflicted


??

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013



875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jacob you bad post deleter. It really is OHNNN NOW.

Also good job.

InfamousGrouse
April 15th 2013



3287 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is glorious

Digging: Gillian Welch - Revival

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Robin, I meant that a lot of a lot of musicians like Vile can't figure out how to handle listening to their own music. I could probably word that one better, thanks for the heads-up.

robin
Emeritus
April 15th 2013



4247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i just meant "songstress" means specifically female songwriters, right?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Oh, damn. You know what? I thought of that when I typed the word, but convinced myself it worked for both genders. Haha, you're right.

I'll find a way to work around that kink.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



16083 Comments


make a summary please

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 15th 2013



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dis gud

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013



6382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nothing about the album screams subtlety, because that wouldn’t be subtle enough.

Fucking love this sentence.

Digging: Vessel - Punish, Honey

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013



6382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

make a summary please


Ahem: "there are more important things at hand"

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks Clerq! =]

Glad to see you're enjoying this album, man.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013



6382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Massively. Probably gonna bump up to a 4.5 when I get it on vinyl.

His lyricism is just sooo good. And I like how he's abandoning his lofi aestetic for a more singer-songwriter style, like all my other heroes do.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

there isn't a single vote under a 3, hell yeah, keep it going guys!!

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2013



6382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just another day in the shame chamber

RadicalEd
April 16th 2013



2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. Great review.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2013



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

=D thanks Ed. This one came more easily to me than other recent ones. I think it's because Vile is just an interesting guy.



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