Review Summary: cheer the fuck up
Low's cold embrace has, for their ninth record, become even colder - while earlier works have verged on deep isolation (I Could Live in Hope
) or emotional renewal (Things We Lost in the Fire
is seemingly a jest towards Low's fans, as if to say 'c'mon, cheer up the fu
ck up'. This is not to say that the slowcore-cum-alt rock foundation of the group has become diminished in any way, as it is obvious that they've not lost the ability to convey sensitivity through minimalism. What is perhaps most impressive about C'mon
is in the way it both replicates Low's mid-90s aesthetic yet still retains the poppier sensibilities of the last two records. In an attempt to dissassociate from common conceptions, Low has gone out of its way to take on feelings of estrangement, to the extent that the record initially feels alienating and conceptually sparse. Naturally though, continued dedication to it unveils a carefully constructed and transcendental composition, a 'c'mon, fu
ck you' to all the naysayers.
is, by every definition of the term, a 'slow-burner'. Any emotional connection to the songs here (excluding particular tracks such as 'Especially Me'), or to the record as a whole, is hard to create. I would go as far as saying that C'mon
is the band's coldest and most depressing record since I Could Live in Hope
. Moments in tracks like 'Witches' or 'Especially Me' recall the hopeful naivity of When the Curtains Hit the Cast
, but they are minute expressions of innocence from a band who have traversed the entire spectrum of the slowcore genre. C'mon
is a depressing album, but at the same time it is an album which seeks to trascend the typical 'depressing album' label. The Great Destroyer
and Drums and Guns
were attempts to find that careful balance of self-reflection, but their over-reliance on radio rock-esque catchiness made them playlist fodder in the long run. C'mon
is inarguably in a different vein. It languishes in its own stupor, then is quick to rise above it. It casts its grip upon the listener, while at the save time pushing you away.
This is undeniably what you want from a record such as this - something that will seem unremarkable at first, but will then proceed to take you on a tumultous journey every time you put it on. The majority of Low's discography has toyed with these elements, and while the band's musical aesthetic has remained generally constant over two decades, their subtlety has become more and more entrenched. I Could Live in Hope
, in my opinion their best record, was intentionally blunt in conveying its inherent sadness. C'mon
can easily be considered as deep and affecting as that record, but it certainly does not wallow in its own immediacy. It took several months, but C'mon finally reached the stage where I could easily consider it one of the top albums of 2011.