Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#3 Album of 2009: New Leaves - Owen

New Leaves

Polyvinyl Records.

SCQ Album Review

I truly believe Mike Kinsella speaks for most men; his honesty is admirable, his vulnerability often scary. If he’s every inch the asshole he sometimes paints himself as, it only furthers my point. In other words, New Leaves isn’t a departure so much as a continuation of his bildungsroman: Kinsella acquires more responsibility and accepts his age, all the while kicking and screaming. So for New Leaves to land so prominently on SCQ’s year-end list would come as a paradox if it was truly just another Owen record (updated themes, similar brilliance). Thankfully, as stubborn as he is, Kinsella has broken ground on New Leaves, offering a richer showcase of instruments and production for many of his best songs yet.

When it comes to year-end lists, some albums can be tough to discern the quality of. Others instinctively compel you, leaving no room in your mind for dismissal. Case in point: I can’t listen to segments of New Leaves without getting goosebumps. That’s enough assessing for me.

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