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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Xiu Xiu
Dear God, I Hate Myself
Kill Rock Stars

Rating: 4.7/10 ?


March 10, 2010
You know, I'm tired of this Emperor's New Clothes crap. For years I've felt like an idiot because I didn't get how great each successive new Xiu Xiu album was; sure, I enjoyed "I Luv the Valley OH!" like everyone else, and found "Clowne Towne" to display a certain (rare) charm, but since all the way back to Knife Play the whole amateur claiming high art thing has gotten old.

Enter Dear God, I Hate Myself, which seems sort of like the boon in the Xiu Xiu catalog. Its glossier synths still find Xiu Xiu at their most imaginably accessible, and it's apparent Jamie Stewart is about as deep as the Goths that sulk around your local mall. Sure, he's miserable. How could you miss that? His warbly voice and lyrics like "chocolate makes you happy and it keeps you awake" (from a song, appropriately titled, "Chocolate Makes You Happy"), are to the point where you just wonder what the hell is wrong with this guy (in a more "I'm annoyed" than an "I'm genuinely concerned" sort of way). So Kudos to Stewart and his surrounding members (featuring new member Angela Seo) for making his most consistently hooky album to date - one that would be a blast to listen to if anyone besides Stewart were writing and/or singing the lyrics. Unfortunately we start with a song like "Grey Death" and it just sort of spirals from there.

If you love Jamie Stewart and have been putting up with this for years, consider my argument: Xiu Xiu have postured themselves for years as sort of a Captain Beefheart of our times (in both pretense and propensity to wedge a distance between himself and his audience). But while Don Van Vliet proved musically visionary in his own right, Stewart is just playing one on a soapy Lifetime quality drama. We're supposed to genuinely feel something for someone whose lyrics at best come across as tantrums and at worst come across as shallow and self-absorbed? Why does it have to be difficult to understand or comprehend what makes a piece of art compelling? Somehow I find it so discouraging that so many have hid behind the "well you just don't get it" art pretense. That's not really a fair assessment-it's not like this stuff is ahead of its time.

Other publications have questioned the intentions of this album. Is it a winking joke they ask? I have to ask: who gives a shit? After a string of miserable albums that seem to forget that the best part of the depressing music is have some company for your misery, with only a handful of undeniably great tracks (and I stand by Knife Play as the sort of left-field shock I'm supposed to feel with every release, but I don't if I'm honest with myself), why would anyone care if this time he's tongue-in-cheek? Especially since the one unique thing about Stewart's lyrical style (a sort of homage of shallow, U.S. suburban vernacular that paints a very specific picture to those of us from the suburbs) seems to be missing on Dear God, I Hate Myself. Sure, maybe it's even tongue-in-cheek, but I sure hope he's not joking. When I listen to a song like "Chocolate Makes Me Happy," I yawn, not laugh.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Cory Tendering

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