I started another Nilsson entry on this blog with a "Nilsson is a genius" statement.
Check out that entry for reasons why and biographical detail.
I would like to be short as this "comment" is a rush job of sorts. I’ve got a lot of half finished posts that need more time. The trouble is with acts I haven’t commented on before I feel a little compelled to do some background on them, which is usually, at the very least some quoting from wikipedia or allmusic. The repeat acts are fun and easy because they tend to be stream of consciousness and do not need any external research.
That’s why I pulled this Nilsson album from the pile.
The trouble is, though, Nilsson refuses to be rushed.
Sure, Nilsson has his own style, his own musical preferences and his own musical shorthand he utilises across albums but within this framework he is forever tweaking and twisting the edges of his talent.
If oddball or quirky is a style then Nilsson it it’s high priest. The guy couldn’t "play it safe" if he tried.
The reality is, I think, is that Nilsson had a large musical palette, a broad sense of humour and got bored easily.
At the dawn of modern punk Nilsson creates a pop album which relishes it’s lushness and puts the guitar way back in the instrumentation so much so that, at times, the guitar is nowhere to be heard.
The "pop" in the album owes little or nothing to 70s soft rock or 70s pop and seems to draw from eras past, both rock and pre rock.
The spirit of Gershwin hovers over any attempts at modernity.
Nilsson is in great voice (and he sure can sing but he wouldn’t win such lemming like lame arse fests as "Idol" or "The Voice"). On this album his youthful vocal acrobatics are put on hold, and replaced with a gentle, though gruff, expressive voice which gives emphasis to his song writing which is particularly mischievous and playful.
This combination of voice and writing added to the ethereal music create an album that is quite otherworldly, but not in a spiritual sense. Rather, it is something that has come from an parallel universe where imagination is valued more than commercialism.
Yeah, yeah, wank, wank.
I know but the album is pretty out of step with 1977.
"Album" is the crucial word. A few of the songs don’t work as well as the others but the same gentle otherworldly vibe runs through the whole album making it akin to one long song with different verses.
"Baroque dream pop" is a description I have seen used in relation to this album and that is as good a description as any.
Tracks (best in italics)
- All I Think About Is You – a very quiet way to start an album and a haunting love song.
- I Never Thought I’d Get This Lonely – out of left field. Pop with some strange instrumentation. Nilsson’s voice is beautiful.
- Who Done It? – whoa, wtf? A Agatha Christie murder mystery as a song or is it a musical Cluedo? This song is out there, occasionally brilliant and always amusing.
- Lean On Me – Lush
- Goin’ Down – Brilliant. Nilsson revisits the early 60s with a quirky sense of humour. He has ripped off (or paid homage to) Bruce Channel and his 1962 hit, "Hey Baby"
- Old Bones – A song about growing old with the attention on the detail. This is similar to Brian Wilson and Ray Davies at their most personal and expressive. It’s all small picture detail that gives way to a big picture vision. Yeah, yeah, wank, wank. I hope I’m not being too cryptic.
- Sweet Surrender – the obligatory love song, but hardly a straight one.
- Blanket For A Sail – a boat on the sea of emotion.
- Laughin’ Man – is the laughing man happy though? Probably. I hope he is.
- Perfect Day – the lyrics by themselves don’t do the song justice. How the words are phrased, and emphasized along with the music make the song exceptional.
I’m keeping it….definetly.
All I Think About Is You
the official video (and weird it is)
I Never Thought I’d Get This Lonely
– The cover design is by Klaus Voormann
-Nilsson said in interviews later he thought this album was perhaps his favorite record. There was also some suggestion that, "Nilsson anticipated Knnillssonn to be a comeback album. RCA seemed to agree, and promised Nilsson a substantial marketing campaign for the album. However, the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA to ignore everything except meeting demand for Presley’s back catalog, and the promised marketing push never happened" (wikipedia). I’m not sure if this album would have been a hit.