Tuesday, January 22, 2008
No. 334: Wild Gift
Album: Wild Gift
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: X's album of guilt -- as described by Robert Christgau -- is deeper and more interesting than their other records. Again produced by Ray Manzarek, the album's sheen belies its punkiness, though both aspects work together to make a pretty good record.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm still not totally in the X camp. It's still punk, as much as the lyrics are much better than so many punk rock bands.
Best song: "White Girl" is a cool racial song -- not a phrase uttered a lot.
Worst song: "I'm Coming Over" isn't great, but, thankfully, it's short.
Is it awesome?: It's close. My mind is changing on this band.
Because of my lack of effort in reviewing "Los Angeles," a couple of excellent commenters expressed a disappointment in my non-love for the record. Because I trust said commenters' taste, I took a little more interest in "Wild Gift" and went in with a little more optimist. And, quite frankly, they were right. "Wild Gift" is great.
Music critic Robert Christgau is one of the biggest supporters of "Wild Gift" in the world, and he gave the album one of the very rare A+. The opening line of his review -- "Hippies couldn't understand jealousy because they believed in universal love; punks can't understand it because they believe sex is a doomed reflex of existentially discrete monads." -- puts the record in a perspective I didn't really think about.
"Adult Books" has the feel of a dance while the frantic lyrics stream out, the love-goes-wrong "When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch" is interesting and cool and "We're Desperate" is wonderful. The aggressive guitars and upbeat drums work well with Exene's sultry-if-you-squint vocals.
Maybe it's the timing, but I do like "Wild Gift" more than I like "Los Angeles." It's a great punk rock record.