MUSIC REVIEW: Kimya Dawson's 'remember that i love you'
what i enjoy most about kimya dawson's lyricism - quite apart from the fact that it's at once hilarious and extremely touching - is the way she skates so easily from subject to subject within the boundaries of the same song.
the immediate effect of this seems to me a perfect capture of the flitting modern/young person's mind, with its attention span frayed at the edges by internet surfing, fast editing, multi tasking and video games. we were even in the habit for a while of describing ourselves and each other as 'random' when what we meant was that our thoughts do not hold still. 'monkey mind' the buddhists call it, and we are the generation of monkey mind in excelcis.
so that kimya writes songs to the rhythms of ADD mind, seems to me anomalously current. no-one else has had the temerity or ingenuity to try it. which makes her new record - which is sonically simple, naive and within folk traditions - as essential to now as can be.
but the 'randomness', as much as it works on this surface level, is deceptive. underneath it there is a sly and assured artistry at work. Midway through 'my mom', which is essentially a callow appeal to the ghosts and skeletons haunting her 'sick mom', she moves into a segment song from sesame street, addressing bert and ernie. The effect of this is unexpected and hilarious, but not untypical of the album entire. Such juxtapostions, though seeming haphazard and playful, subtley embolden the emotional thrusts of these songs, and lend them a depth that perfect earnestness and flawless scansion could not.
i shed a tear during 'my mom' - and furthermore - did not cringe at 'loose lips' where kimya takes on both the subjects of self harm and george bush, typically tricky subjects to approach lyrically. any suspicion of pretension or righteousness one might have of another lyricist addressing these subjects is pierced by her apparently artless touch. and so it goes that the songs on this record cut through cynicism with a blade; even mine.
the musical arrangements on the album do not lack wit or vigour either. they are simply recorded in the lo-fi manner we're accustomed to, with acoustic guitar as a base. other instruments (violin/ light percussion/tinkling piano/whistling) are employed sparingly but effectively when need be. and her pure, solid voice is capitalized upon throughout the record - whether up close at the microphone, or looped melodically through sample pedals.
released: may 9th 2006
Tags; culture, music, kimya dawson, folk, lo fi