Album Review: Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall

by Gordon Elgart on August 11, 2009

Can anyone explain why he wants to look so evil?

Can anyone explain why he wants to look so evil?

Listening to the new Jay Reatard album, Watch Me Fall, has presented me with a puzzle I’ve never had to solve before.  What if you like an album too much to do a proper review of it?  How would you approach it?  You’d do it by relying on the biggest security blanket a modern writer has.  You’d make lists.  So read on to see just how many lists I managed to make out of Jay Reatard’s masterpiece of an album.

I hate trying to figure out soundalikes.  I also hate it when someone says “that guy sounds just like …” and fills in the blank.  That said, here are the:

The Top 5 Artists That Have a Strong Influence on Parts of This Album

1.   Devo
2.  The Damned
3.  Oingo Boingo
4.  Talking Heads
5.  Alice Cooper

I’ve seen Jay Reatard described as “garage punk.” I have no idea what this means.   I don’t think it applies.   Garage and Punk are clearly two of the genres represented here.  So we have:

The Top 5 Genres That You Could Use to Classify Parts of This Album

1. Punk
2. Garage
3. Glam
4. Twee
5. Power pop

Since I first discovered Jay Reatard as his Matador singles collection was being played between acts at The Greek Theater last summer, I’ve been discovering all sorts of cool things about him.  His choice of stage name doesn’t impress me, but lots about him does.

The Top 3 Coolest Things About Jay Reatard

1. He is ridiculously prolific.  His career is a constant stream of singles and albums with multiple projects.  Yet they keep getting better.
2. He is promoting the new album by doing a free tour of record stores.  He’s even playing at Amoeba in both San Francisco and Berkeley on separate nights–August 22 in SF and August 23 in Berkeley.  He must have a friend’s house where he can crash.
3. Everything about this documentary:

Waiting For Something – a short documentary about Jay Reatard

Pardon the brevity of this review.  Think of it like one of his songs. They come in, do their thing, and leave before they overstay their welcome.  The album is 12 songs and lasts about 34 minutes. Each song is a tiny little gem, and the whole thing flows through so many styles, it’s astounding.  The final song, “The Whisper (There Is No Sun)” surprises by bringing strings into the equation, as he finishes with a flourish of symphonic pop.

There’s unlikely to be an album for some time that invites multiple listens as much as this one does.   I have one more list for you.

Top 1 Thing to Do As Soon As You Can

1. Buy Watch Me Fall at your local record store.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tony August 22, 2009 at 9:18 am

The Buzzcocks called, they want their sound back LOL

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