Jon just called me from a bar in New Orleans – flaming drunk – to verify I won’t starve the cats and to remember to keep the blog updated while he and Paul are out of town.
What a wonderful opportunity to launch my new column, Muse-Sick which will highlight my favorite songs in no particular order. [readers vote: is this a lame title? If so, you better come up with a cooler suggestion that I can steal]
The first song I’d like to acknowledge is “Kiss” by Scout Niblett. The heartfelt tune appears off of 2007’s This Fool Can Die Now and features guest vocal talent Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
LISTEN/WATCH SCOUT STUFF BREAD UNDERNEATH HER TOP LIP:
I have to admit, the first time I heard this song I wasn’t very impressed. I thought Mr. “Prince” was stealing Niblett’s thunder by singing half of the song. The somber guitar notation mimicked R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts” meanwhile I was amused by Niblett’s crazy high pitched vocal range. It sort of made me think of the time I went on an elementary school field trip to the symphony and would awkwardly hold back socially inappropriate laughter while the high pitched instruments (think piccalo) had their solo. In Niblett’s case, I think I was jaded because this ballad was different from her sparse and heavy hitting previous album Kidnapped By Neptune which I had fallen in love with years ago. Upon my initial listen, I accused this song of over extending into the indie-pop realm, a dimension that had the capacity to suck the soul from the most primitive of artists (think The Greatest/Jukebox era Cat Power).
However, after going to see Niblett perform last spring my perspective changed after watching her sing “Kiss” solo. Stripped down from it’s flailing vocal harmonies and string orchestration the song was quite effective as Niblett squints her eyes, grits her teeth and begs you not to break her dreams. After hearing a barren rendition of the song I decided to revisit the decadent version found on This Fool Can Die Now. I decided I was the fool for writing it off without really listening to it. In fact, Niblett and Mr. “Prince” conduct wavering vocal harmonies brought reverent mist to my eyes as the song hit between 3:30-3:40 as I drive home alone in the rain hoping my own dreams wouldn’t be broken.