Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…
Reviewed by Alex McCullough
I woke up this morning, didn’t recognize the man in the mirror. Then I laughed, and I said “oh silly me, that’s just me.” The opening line of the latest album by Philadelphia folk-rocker Kurt Vile pretty accurately sums up the tone of the record. Actually, it kind of sums up Kurt Vile as a whole; he’s a pretty moody, melancholy guy, but his music also has its signature tinge of lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek humor. b’lieve i’m goin down isn’t much of a change of pace from Vile’s previous albums, but in this case, that’s not a bad thing at all.
This record has everything I love about Kurt Vile: moody, touching ballads, Vile’s lazy, almost twangy voice, fantastic guitar work, and catchy melodies. The first track, “Pretty Pimpin”, gets the album off to a perfect start with dreary lyrics, catchy verses, and… well pretty much everything I just mentioned. In this song, we see Kurt as a man living his life in a daze, not really caring about anything, confused by life, but hey, he still looks pretty pimpin. In “That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)” and “All in a Daze Work”, Vile really embraces the melancholy melodies that he does so well and creates a dreamy, sad atmosphere that makes you just want to stay in bed all day.
Other tracks might not have such an outright sad feeling to them, but almost all of them have somewhat of a moody tinge. “Stand Inside”, “Kidding Around”, and the bluegrass-tinged “I’m an Outlaw” are all great examples of this half-sad mood that’s so prevalent on this album. The atmosphere created by Kurt’s intricate acoustic (and sometimes bluesy electric) guitar playing, the piano, the occasional funky synths, and his rambling voice really resonates with me and makes me feel sad but at the same time like everything is fine and nothing really matters.
What we’re hearing from Kurt on b’lieve i’m goin down isn’t really anything different from what we’ve heard on his other albums, but somehow he manages to make nearly every song seem fresh and engaging. He’s a fantastic songwriter and an extremely talented musician, and I’m always going to be interested to hear what he puts out.
Recommended tracks: Pretty Pimpin, Life Like This, Stand Inside, All in a Daze Work, Wild Imagination, That’s Life tho (almost hate to say)
RIYL: The War on Drugs, Real Estate, Bob Dylan
FCC Violations: None