Whoever came up with “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” was an asshole. Check out this album cover, on the left, of the new Jay Reatard album Watch Me Fall. What a fucking horrible album cover. Is that Gollum? or Smeagol? Igor? Jay’s last album Blood Visions, aside from being one of the best albums of this millenium , has a kick ass album cover. It’s Jay standing in red underwear in an all white background with blood covering his body and ground. The album backs up the cover. It’s fast, relentless, and kicks the shit out of you for thirty minutes and stops. It’s a lot like the live show, which some people complain about, but I like. I respect a band going out there, playing a fast 30 min set with no breaks and then walking off stage. If the band is good enough and plays fast and loud, you will be more satisfied than some jerk band going out there for 90 minutes with only a few really good moments mixed into endless boredom. Unfortunately for me and Jay and the good people at Matador, Watch Me Fall is like this: a couple good songs and a lot of endless boredom.
I usually don’t write negative record reviews, actually, I think this may be the first truly negative record review, but I am so dissapointed with this album I felt forces greater than myself pushing me to write something. Watch Me Fall is whiny. I think Jay Reatard has been seeing a shrink and all of his problems have been solved. The end result: no bite. He sounds like a pop punk whiny bitch. Was his voice always this annoying? I went back to Blood Visions to see if maybe my past self was a moron and had bad taste (wouldn’t be the first time). Nope. I am currently listening and man, Jay Reatard, is really pissed off on Blood Visions. His voice is a bit nasaly, but I believe him. There’s bitter hatred in his catchy melodies. His voice doesn’t get in the way of the fucking blitzkrieg guitar attack. Watch Me Fall‘s guitars are tinny, and not the good garage tinny, the bad indie pop too cool for school shoegaze on speed tinny.Compared to the blitzkrieg, it’s a toy gun with the orange plastic nob on the front so even cops wouldn’t be stupid enough to believe it was a real gun.
There is one song I genuinely like on the new album because it’s the only song that doesn’st sound like a retarded cover of an actual Jay Reatard song: “Can’t Do It Anymore.” The song sounds a lot like the other songs on the album, guitars hidden too much vocals, until at the 1:16 mark when guitar feedback takes over for 3o seconds. It sounds like a car crash. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it’ll at least wake you up a little bit. To knock my compliment back down to this earthly negative record review, Blood Visions was able to give you this jolt of pure energy without resorting to feedback tricks. A simple drum roll could do it (“Death is Forming”) or a scream (the end of “Greed, Money, Useless Children”), or with his lyrics that sound so happy but are actually mean as hell (“Fading All Away”). I’m not sure what to do. I feel betrayed.
There is hope for his live show, because a lot of the blandness of Watch Me Fall is the production. Bad job, Matador dudes. The drums are not loud enough. The guitars are really not loud enough. Everything sits behind Jay Reatard and his melodic voice. Which is another thing I’m pissed about. This record is getting GOOD reviews and almost everyone slobbers over the genius of Jay Reatard’s melodies. The intricacies of his melodies, they say. I say, BULLSHIT. He can woo-ooo all he wants, but he’s moving backwards from Blood Visions and even the Matador singles collection that weren’t that bad. He’s always had the melody, but when he’s got nothing to say anymore, it obviously suffers. I don’t believe him and that’s how I mark things these days. I need tobelieve in things, even if it’s mundane or completely retarded. At the end of the record when he starts singing, “There is no sun,” I don’t believe him. I want to believe, but I can’t. He’s lost it.
What’s the reason for all this? Maybe he really wanted a Pitchfork review, which he got this time around. Maybe he really wanted to fit in. Soften it up a bit and man, those melodies will tear down the indie-pop world. Which is probably true. As bad as Watch Me Fall is, it’s still better than most of the garbage he’s trying to fit in with. For that, I give him a pat on the back. For people like me that place TRUTH above melody, catchiness, loudness, skill or any of that shit, I give him a punch in the balls, if he’s still got ’em.
Looking back over the track listing, I realize Jay Reatard’s song titles are better negative reviews than my review. If you read this far, sorry, any of the following would make a better review than I just gave. If you miraculously skipped to right here, damn, you are good. Five reviews for Jay Reatard’s new album Watch Me Fall:
“It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”
“Can’t Do It Anymore”
“Hang Them All”
– your friend AdamW