1995, Music

Viva Last Blues (1995) by Palace Music

I like Will Oldham. I like his aesthetic, I like his songs. I basically like everything about him. (Is his affect a little pretentious? I guess. But it doesn’t bug me.)

But nearly every Will Oldham album is a bit of a similar experience for me: it takes me a long time to really get into. I know why that is but, the older I get, the less patient I seem to be about this kind of stuff. I find myself struggling to evaluate his music with only three listens, and that’s super weird because I feel like I used to really get into them right away. Anyway…
This is a decent set of songs for him. The standard is high of course, but there are a couple here I could imagine becoming favourites of mine whenever I can get around to listen to it again. (Really, I need to listen to the entire discography in order a few times, that’s what I need to do. But who knows when I’ll get to it…)

Some say this is a substantially more “rock” (or, alternatively, more “upbeat”) than most of the early Palace records. I don’t actually know because I’m far more familiar with the Bonnie Prince Billy Stuff. (This may be only my second Palace record.) My guess is that’s a reaction to Days in the Wake, which I’ve never heard. To me, it sounds like Oldham with all that implies: sloppiness, looseness, and the ability to play both soft and, when it requires, relatively loud.

Anyway, I find myself not entirely sure what to say about this one. I like it, but I like basically virtually everything he does. And I can’t really rank it in the canon without listening to a lot of his stuff all together, which is not happening any time soon.


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