Saturday, March 29, 2008

"WE CAN'T HELP YOU" - STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS

Given the song's title - after falling under an album title like Real Emotional Trash - you'd expect "We Can't Help You" to be a cynical little slack ditty. The lyrics add to that hunch:
There's no common goal/There's no moral action/There's no modern age/From which to run away/There's no grace in love/With a new projection/There's no sky above/For you to cry into
Booooo!

Stephen... we know you're a reluctant lyricist, but how 'bout spraying some cheer on that cloudy veneer? WELL... the jokes on you, Jick! No matter how hard you try and keep it cranky, you just ain't the negative type.

Contrasting with the lyrics, Malkmus' early A.M. lilt, and his band's Dylan-esque chapel shuffle, instantly reveals that day-after optimism that the songwriter - even in Pavement's early days - could never slag off.

And you can really let go of any lingering thoughts of nastiness once drummer Janet Weiss brings back her much-missed Quasi harmonies in the "Laaaaaa la la la LA, la la la la la" of the chorus. (Weiss is irrefutably one of rocks top drummers, but she's always absolutely GOTTEN IT when it comes to backing vocals).

In "We Can't Help You"'s final verse, Malkmus finally concedes:
Well, I've seen the storm/It is off your shoulder
Sir Malkmus, you, in your modest ways, may think you can't help anybody, but for many, many, years now your music's been doing exactly that.

1 comment:

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