The Weakerthans
Left and Leaving


5.0
classic

Review

by BeeRyan USER (5 Reviews)
March 2nd, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album about disappointment that never disappoints.

The Weakerthan’s milestone album, Left and Leaving, is the lonely soundtrack to burnt out Saturdays with no energy and nothing to do; an album devoted to days slipping through your fingers with nothing to show for it. The record captures the feeling of something once thought promising turning out to being a disappointment. Though don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean that the music itself is boring and lifeless like dead, wasted weekends; just that it captures the same hopelessness and disparity in its near hour run-time that a Saturday with no plans or motivation does. It strongly evokes emotions and allows the listener to analyze the lonely and disappointed stories that the Weakerthans present in their stellar, generally slow-burning record.

As dreary as this description sounds, the record does truly come alive at points, as about a third of the album is louder numbers, such as “Watermark”, complete with one of the most inspiring bridges ever put to record, or the anthem “Aside” which has serious lasting value. These spots of brightness are expertly placed as if to demonstrate that there is continually hope behind all the dismay present elsewhere. The drudgery of failure, though a common lyrical theme on the record, is not manifest in the performances of any member. The music on the album plays comfortably and never too far-reaching. Songs never over stay their welcome and show enough variation throughout to not get stale, but are given enough time to grow and display their true colors. The slower songs, “Everything Must Go!” about an emotionally cleansing garage sale, or the simple “Left and Leaving”, for example, are just as emotionally heavy and evocative as the louder tracks such as “Exiles Among You.” This causes for a balanced yet cathartic listen from start to finish.

Which brings me to a point of particular interest. Left and Leaving was released in 2000, and this retrospective was penned in 2014. I myself can’t act like I was even remotely aware of or interested in the Weakerthans at the time; I only truly got into them in 2012. However, the record more than stands the trials an album would normally face in a 14 year lifetime. This became evident to me as “This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open” paraded through my speakers for the first time. John K. Samson’s vague storytelling interweaves immaculate stories on the subjects of friendship, memories, and the deceptive concept of home. His equivocal lyrical approach allows the listener to fill in the blanks with their own memories while still make greater, more sweeping inferences which can impact as much as they surely did when the record was first released.

There is no dispute that no matter how excellently played the instruments are throughout and how catchy and/or somber many of the melodies are, this record is dominated by Samson’s staggering explorations of human interactions and disparity. This is why the record has an untraceable shelf-life; the emotional excavations and musings represented thoroughly here will never stop being valid and insightful. So, as long as lonely, disappointing Saturday’s exist, so will the introspective beauty found throughout Left and Leaving.


user ratings (401)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
March 2nd 2014


29362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"it captures the same hopelessness and disparity in its near hour run-time that a Saturday with no

plans or motivation does."



what? i really don't think you're connecting these points very well. seems like a weird analogy

Spec
March 2nd 2014


35830 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It sort of works.

Gyromania
March 2nd 2014


29362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really? the disparity and hopelessness this album channels is akin to a saturday night without plans? must not be very affecting then, unless your plan-less saturday nights are that intensely emotional

Tyrael
March 2nd 2014


21113 Comments


'really? the disparity and hopelessness this album channels is akin to a saturday night without plans? must not be very affecting then, unless your plan-less saturday nights are that intensely emotional '

rofl

Spec
March 2nd 2014


35830 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Maybe mine are you dick.

BeeRyan
March 2nd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

totally just a creative writing piece. it was a stream of consciousness attempting to gather my thoughts into one place. it may seem disjointed and some points may not connect well. wrote it for myself, not in an attempt to do a standard review.

Gyromania
March 2nd 2014


29362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'wrote it for myself'



i don't mean to sound confrontational or anything, but whenever someone says that it sounds like a copout. especially on a site as community-oriented as this. the writing is good in other spots but that analogy is just silly

Gyromania
March 2nd 2014


29362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's your first review though, so keep at it. i was terrible when i started reviewing.

BeeRyan
March 2nd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the analogy isn't good for you, ok, i got that. i thought it was comparable to that feeling that everyone else in the world is having a good time and you're stuck at home, which is what i was trying to convey.

BeeRyan
March 2nd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i'm unapologetic about that analogy though, it's what i was trying to say, and i definitely see what you mean about it being a copout, i just thought a different perspective on the album might be interesting to someone.

ABjordanMM
March 3rd 2014


1722 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

wow all the reviews for this album are 5's. Must be pretty good ; )

Gyromania
March 3rd 2014


29362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

and that's most certainly welcome, but i hold that the analogy doesn't translate well. however, i think how you just described it is infinitely better than the tie-in in your review. to each their own though. i get the point you're conveying, it just doesn't seem like a strong central thesis to me, plus the word choices. idk if i feel hopeless and despair when i don't have plans, that sounds a little dramatic. i get that feeling of missing out while everyone else is having fun, and you could have spoken more to that



anywho, i'm being nitpicky. i look forward to reading more from you though, because most of the rest is good, and you like awesome albums =]

BeeRyan
March 3rd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thank you very much, i appreciate the feedback! i can see where my attempts to make it more personal make it less accessible, and the fact that I pretty much posted it as it was written is pretty evident. i first heard it at a dramatic time, so this write up is pretty contaminated by that, so maybe my others will be a little easier to relate with. thanks for reading.

Pheromone
March 3rd 2014


7413 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I loved reconstruction site but this always felt like a weaker version of that

mike197
March 3rd 2014


190 Comments


Good review, you made me wanna check out the album

avonbarksdale221
March 3rd 2014


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review man, high quality record.

BeeRyan
March 3rd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks, avon, but stringer was always a lot cooler than you ;)

BeeRyan
March 3rd 2014


1349 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I do prefer Reconstruction Site, it's a lot more concise and powerful, but I think they exist as two separate, tremendous entities.

Eko
March 3rd 2014


2118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best album



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