Beirut - Cliquot
Final Fantasy - Took You Two Years To Win My Heart
Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (Final Fantasy Mix)( Plus photo reference - I learnt my lesson with PWolf and from now on there will be pictures of any band/musician/whatever anytime there is over-analysis, not just when I go see them live. )
The theme is "songs that involve Owen Pallett out of Final Fantasy, and are also sad waltzes about the end of relationships." Final Fantasy, to recap, is intricate violin-based indiepop by a dude from Toronto who did all the strings arrangements for the Arcade Fire (among other less-useful references). There are no basslines. The lyrics (literally or metaphorically) revolve around:
- videogame nerd-dom
- faggotry, with a minor in Mishima
Basically it's kind of like listening to Joanna Newsom's gay otaku oniisan. Needless to say I like this stuff a lot but I can't believe it exists, and I can't believe it won the Polaris Prize. Srsly, only in Canada. It feels like some kind of judgment on my lifestyle. XD;
I got to like Owen Pallett's work for other bands first, which I don't think is just
a function of the aforementioned lack of bass - he's obviously the sort of creative personality who works best under preexisting constraints. If he were writing on LJ he'd be asking for drabble prompts constantly. When there's no other band there saying do this and do that he sets arbitrary parameters for himself, which is actually what the whole "one song for each of the D&D schools of magic" etc. rigmarole is about, not the Melt Wizard sort of hommage-rendering. When there is
a band he's very good at, not submerging his sound, but turning it into what it's required to be. Even when the requirement is nebulous. The Stars remix is 10x better than the original in that it reaches through the drumbeats and drama to find the sadness. All the time you thought I was sad / I was trying to remember your name;
and she so defiant, not knowing she meant so little. Plus it does sound like Jon Brion, with the piano (about the only thing P4k got right in its otherwise DED RONG pan, because the whole remix album happens to be grebt).
The Beirut album (I'll write about Beirut in some other entry) absorbs me in part because it feels collaborative
. I'm thinking of Electronic, here, how it's possible to hear Sumner and Marr and Tennant as separate abstract entities in a given song and how totally weird that is. XD Part of it being that the tracks on The Flying Club Cup
were mostly laid down before the strings were arranged, I think, and part of it being Beirut's violin section is way more technically proficient than the rest of the band. XD Like, in a really obvious way (cf. "In The Mausoleum"). Not that LOL HIPSTERS LEARN TO PLAY FASTER isn't part of the charm of Gulag Orkestar
regardless - of indie as a whole, insofar as it inherits from punk. Unlike Christgau I won't call it "detournement" because that word means something else.
So yeah, Final Fantasy sounding more Beirut than Beirut does all over the album, and "Cliquot" sort of makes me wish Pallett would help a fella out and write all the lyrics, though he'd probably have to tone down the rampant ghei before he gives Zach Condon an untimely heart attack. ...Memes are funny things. This idea of "plague songs" that may or may not have started with the 4AD project, then it was Patrick Wolf saying he wanted to write a whole album about the Black Death, except everything PWolf says about songs he hasn't written yet always turns out to be bullshit, so in the end it was Owen Pallett who wrote it. For Beirut. I actually cannot get over this song, it's too depressing. XD I've mentally elaborated some sort of AU fanfic(?!) set in Dante's Italy in which Owen Pallett is a spoony bard who gets the bubonic plague then dies in a fire. I think the song triggered a relapse of my trauma from those R.A. MacAvoy novels.
Compared to that "Took You Two Years..." comes off as normal, heartache-wise. It's really straightforward; I just like waltzes. XD I'm not just mocking, their work evolves in parallel. Has a Good Home is to He Poos Clouds as Milk-Eyed Mender is to Ys: the former cute, hooky, low-key and disparate, the latter conceptual, orchestral, and unified in scope. I like the pop albums better. XD
 Actually I find Owen Pallett sympathetic in interviews because he reminds me irresistably of People In Fandom. XD The whole self-aware but uncontrollably knee-jerk self-deprecation raised to a fine art schtick. GOD STFU, IT IS SO THE BEST
STORY TRACK ON THE ALBUM.