May 162009

A.) or B.)?

You decide!


  25 Responses to “Big Choice Poll: A.) Rich and Captivating, or B.) Pretentious and Over-Written?”

  1. Mr. Moderator

    On first listen, the song felt like it was 17 minutes long and belonged on side 9 of The Complete White Album. It’s like McCartney and Harrison pooled their most self-satisfied open-chord odes to whatever false god they were following on a given day. My apologies to anyone whose life has been greatly enriched by this song, but I vote B.

  2. I’m going to split the middle: pretentious and underwritten. It sounds like it could be Jason Mraz.

  3. I don’t see how this song can be considered underwritten. There’s definitely a lot going on with fancy chords and wordy lyrics — I always thought this was Falkner’s Squeeze tribute. Not my favorite Author Unknown song, but that whole album is kinda burned into my brain from countless listens during college. I find it hard to be objective. What the hell — I choose A!

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod, I don’t get you. 19-minute skronk fests on Sun Ra albums are okay, but *this* is over-long and pretentious? I admit, this tune squeezes my Kentonite boner, but long and meandering it’s not. It’s got incredible focus and precision, at least to my ears. And Townsman eh, I agree with Oats when he asks the one-word question: underwritten?!

    This song is A.) all the way.

  5. BigSteve

    C) Soulless, gimmicky, mechanical, and tiresome. Was this an exercise to see how many chords you could stuff into a 3-minute song so it feels twice as long? Granted the poor quality recording doesn’t help, but I was worn out after about a minute.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    Thank you, BigSteve. You have made my day.

    Hrrundi, it’s hard for me to be so critical without seeming to insult anyone who digs this song. You know how much I care about people’s feelings, but these are heartfelt biases and sincere dislikes I’m trying to express – about the song.

    First of all, I feel a little open chord stuff goes a long way. Not “cowboy chords,” as our friend E. Pluribus Gergely would call them, but those made-up chords when you’re playing centered around the 7th fret but letting the E and B strings ring out. We all need to experiment, but that’s why rock ‘n roll offers us variations on Look, drugs, production techniques, etc. Any one of us can dick around for a few weeks with these chords and find melodic options, but that won’t make us Joni Mitchell or whatever. OK, so that’s a bias I have that’s mixed with a degree of sincere distaste.

    However, for all these fancypants chordings, there are songs of this ilk I like. Beside that one climbing part that recurs, I don’t know what I’m supposed to focus on in terms of chords, melodies, lyrics, and rhythms. It sounds like he’s still in that stage in the privacy of his home, with the tape rolling and him grasping for some cool ideas. This is mostly my feelings regarding my distaste for the song. For all the work he must have put into this, it sounds like he’s got a long way to go toward completion. I could sit down with him and give him some pointers on making the song better, but then he’d have to do the hard work of finding its center.

    So there. I simply find the song UNDERwritten, to be clear about it.

  7. Doesn’t fit either description to be honest. Doesn’t affect me, but I’d hardly call it “pretentious”.

    And, BTW, stuffing chord changes into a three minute song isn’t necessarily a bad. Little epic love songs from the right singers– McCartney, Wilson, Lindsey Buckingham, Martin Phillipps (the Chills)– can be quite affecting, rich & captivating, all that.

  8. saturnismine

    yeah…It’s just not very good. Sorry, hvb.

  9. sammymaudlin

    C) I’m sorry. Did you say something?

  10. jeangray

    Yah, how about:
    C) Jus’ tiresome & plain boring.

    I too was having a tough time a-paying attention at about the one min. mark. I’ve heard some great songs from this guy… perhaps if I heard the full band version I might feel differently. Not a big fan of the whole “Unplugged” thing.

    Wasn’t he a member of Jelleyfish?

  11. jeangray

    Ooohhh, and wha’s with the Yoda-speak of the song title?

  12. Jason Faulkner is VERY talented, but this is not his best song. His 1,000 chord thing works better with a band. He was in The Grays who are one of my faves as well

  13. I want to like him more than I do. Great guitar player though. Supposedly Dave Gregory claims the solo in “She goes to bed” is one of his favorites.

    I think lyric writing is his greatest deficiency.

    I am cherguevara, and I kill threads.

  14. I hope the in-store performace I did on Saturday (Criminal Records, Atlanta)is going to be put on you tube and discussed 10+ years from now as well by a jury of my peers!

  15. For all the fancy chords, the melody line is not very interesting. I’m sort of amazed how this song has so many catchy parts and yet is uncatchy.

  16. mockcarr

    I vote A. But at least people are adding their own letters. I can’t stand not being able to enter a wiseass answer in those side polls.

  17. I’m with jeangrey. I need a whole band. Very few people can hold my attention with just an acoustic guitar.

  18. alexmagic

    I will fall in with the “like the song, like it better on the album, not my favorite song on said album” camp. Also with the yoda-speak thing.

    I think it works better on the album because there’s enough going on to differentiate the various sections of the song. I’m still not sure how to articulate what it is about Falkner’s brand of power pop that works for me that I often find lacking about Matthew Sweet.

  19. mockcarr

    I think Jason believes he’s smarter than he really is. Some of his lyrics are really awkward. Sweet seems like a regular guy who’s good at heartbreak songs, but gets too repetitive and exceeds the time limit for power pop according to some on this list. But I’m more pro-Matthew Sweet, than Sweet for example. There would probably be an excellent best-of from Matthew Sweet that would take care of a lot of folks.

  20. Thread drift – Is there good Matthew Sweet besides “Girlfriend” and “100% Fun”. I’ve really lost track.

    My favorite songs on the Greys album are Jon Brion’s, followed by Faulkner and then Buddy Judge’s. I read an interview with Jack Joseph Puig, and he mentioned Jason and his songwriting – that he was trying to get his tunes played by Jellyfish but they rejected them. Around the time of Author Unknown being out, I think it was, Puig went on to say that Jason “wasn’t the writer he is now”.

    I did spin “Can you still feel” a while back – well, was in the car and got about halfway through the album when I reached my destination. So either I lost the mood on the drive back home, or that album is really front loaded. It was definitely working for me, though. Like I said, I really want to like him, I keep listening…

  21. Mr. Moderator

    Cherguevarra, beside those two Matthew Sweet albums, I could probably compile 6-8 worthwhile songs, primarily from the bloated Altered Beast and that Japanese-only release from about 5 years ago. There was an album from maybe 3 or 4 years ago that had a couple of decent mellow songs, but unfortunately his output has been really spotty. When he’s got a good band and can keep things focused he’s one of my favorite “power pop” guys. I like the fact that he can make a direct, heartfelt statement in his best songs without cluttering things up with a bunch of show-off nonsense.

  22. I also like some tunes from the Fred Maher produced album that came out before Girlfriend.

  23. mockcarr

    Check out In Reverse, even though the cover is creepy. The production is kind of muddy in a early 70s way, and there’s some good stuff on there.

  24. Mr. Moderator

    I think I still have In Reverse. That had a few good tunes on it, especially one with minor chords and a pumping organ in the #7 slot, if memory serves.

  25. I have “In reverse” and “Altered beast”, perhaps it’s time to give ’em another spin.

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