It sure is a good thing I didn’t know anything about Pete Yorn and didn’t read any of the reviews about this album before I started listening to it. Because reading some of the breathless critical acclaim this received would have just about guaranteed that I wouldn’t have liked it. Fortunately, I listened first.
Yorn has a great sense of melody and there are a lot of catchy songs here. That certainly has a lot to do with the acclaim because I can imagine a record with a similar aesthetic with less catchy songs really not catching on, at least in 2001. (Hell, I’ve probably heard a few of these…)
I can’t say I paid much attention to his lyrics but they seem okay when I am paying attention. Nothing really connected but that’s not really a surprise and could have something to do with the lack of attention. I do find a lot of these indie singer songwriters to be a bit of a-dime-a-dozen when it comes to lyrics. Maybe that’s not fair but it’s also his debut so I’m not too worried.
It is of course very impressive that he made the whole thing, though hardly irregular at this point. Bedroom music had existed as a genre for some time. He walks a line with his arrangements, with little bits of mess here and there but a fair amount of polish for something he made virtually by himself. What I really appreciate is his willingness to sing in different styles. It adds a little more variety to his music.
It is just a tad polished for my liking but I guess that’s where we’re at in the 21st century – any recording deficiencies have to be added on purpose now. But, like so much of this stuff, it does feel like the slight grit/mess is an affectation.
This is a pretty decent record. The songs are good and the aesthetic is mostly something I like. It’s not super original and it’s really, really, really hard to understand how people lost their minds over it. (Is this “stunning” because it’s a debut???)