The Singer

My favorite album of 2009 up to this point is by far The Pains of Being Pure at Heart by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This record is a pop rock gem which is as if The Cure and The Smiths got into a fight with My Bloody Valentine at a Weezer show. The songs are melodic and beautiful with a distinct sound.

But something feels missing. While I absolutely can’t get enough of TPOBPAH, something sets them apart from The Cure and The Smiths. Those bands each had an iconic lead singer in Robert Smith and Steven P. Morrissey. Something can be said for the lead singer that seems so lost in music today. They gave the songs a voice. TPOBPAH have incredible vocal melodies, but they don’t seem like they’re coming from anywhere special. It’s more like another instrument getting lost in the mix. Aside from Johnny Marr’s jangly guitar, The Smiths succeeded because Morrissey gave his songs voice. They were coming from that big sardonic head of his.

Yes you will argue that this is what TPOBPAH wants. This is their sound and this is why I like it. I am not denying that. I guess I’m just pining for the days of the lead singer. I can’t even think of one bravura lead singer these days besides Matt Berninger from The National.

Either way, do yourself a favor. If you want to smile, pick up The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.

One Comment

  1. Greg April 25, 2009

    Wow, we’re a third of the way through the year already and this is a three-horse race. On top of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The latest Decemberists record, The Hazards of Love, is a goddamn masterpiece. While it’s not as instantly catchy as TPOBPAH, it is a cover to cover amazing rock opera. Easily their finest achievement to date. Not as pirate-y as before, but still very powerful.

    But wait there’s more! Even though it hasn’t been officially released yet, the new Phoenix album is a frickin’ perfect pop record. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was leaked to the internet a few weeks ago, and it seems everyone’s got it already. I hardly find this to be a problem for Phoenix because I know I will be rushing out to see them as soon as they come around. Currently, this is my best album of the first third of 2009. The catchiest thing I’ve heard in years.

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