March 07, 2005

Review: Snide Comments

Album: End of Love
Artist: Clem Snide
Album Type: Outperformer

Before I started a review here, I decided to do a little research. It became apparent that people are divided about this album. One group says "this is some good stuff...its meaningful, insightful and its just plain fun" while the other camp thinks it blows. While it would be more fun to write about an album that sucks, I can't say that about Clem Snide's latest, End of Love. It is simply a fantastic album.

Clem Snide (a band, not a person, although there are people only they're gathered together which makes it a band, capiche?) is considered alt-country. I'm sure the fact that I don't like country isn't lost on you. But I'm starting to lean that alt-country isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's twang, and I'm not a big twang fan (not that there's anything wrong with that) but here it works. This is honest music. Its not flashy. There's no showing off. Its just a straightforward collection of songs played on acoustic and electric guitars, some drums, a bass and a few keys. The singer isn't particularly great. He sounds like an emo guy who's trying to sound country, in fact. But the lyrics he sings are intensely clever, yet not too clever for their own good. The band maintains a sense of humor without ever becoming irrelevant or crossing the line into novelty act territory.

The album opens, appropriately, with the title track. It, like the rest of the album, mourns the loss and nature of love in offbeat ways.

you're so sophisticated
you're minds been liberated
you're the first to notice that the movement's come and gone
maybe you should just release the doves
'cos no one will survive the end of love

The Sound of German Hip-Hop, God Answers Back, When We Become and even the unlikely Jews For Jesus Blues all meditate on the same themes - love, life passing a little too quickly for our own comfort, and what it feels like to be an outsider looking in. Perhaps the most utterly devastating song, however, is Made For TV Movie. It literally stopped me in my tracks when I first hear it and it still does (I mean, really, I just got through listening to it). Maybe the band actually describes themselves and their music best in their closing song:

you tell me you're different
you tell me you're strange
you tell me that there is something wrong with your brain
so your mother found god
and your dad likes to drink
you're not as weird as you'd like me to think

You're all smart people...and if you're anything like me you're a little tired of having the same old crap shoved down your throats by record companies. This is different, smart and refreshing. Join me in cleansing your musical pores. This is where we start.

Posted by Chris at March 7, 2005 06:40 PM

"and if you're anything like me you're a little tired of having the same old crap shoved down your throats by record companies"

..... hey, never make assumptions.

Posted by: jodi at March 7, 2005 06:48 PM

LOVE Clem Snide... and was lucky enough to catch them in concert last year here in M-town.

Glad you liked the new album... I haven't gotten it yet, but definitely will!

Posted by: Snidget at March 7, 2005 08:29 PM

I love that you're reviewing music. I have to say that there is SO MUCH good music out there right now if people just look for it anywhere besides the radio (I'm not including NPR when I say "radio.")

I haven't heard of this, but I'll have to look into it. I also have some recommendations if you're interested.

Posted by: DeAnn at March 7, 2005 08:40 PM

That's odd...I just JUST purchased my tickets to see C.S. and Shivaree minutes before I read this! ?

Posted by: Jessica at March 7, 2005 08:50 PM

Just adding it to Len's Amazon shipping basket.

Posted by: Amber at March 8, 2005 05:51 AM

Clem Snide? Never heard of him. I'll have to look that one up. Thanks!

Posted by: Gweny at March 10, 2005 12:14 AM