Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paul Kotheimer's Familiar EP (Post #3)

Rather than writing one long piece, I'm dragging out my coverage of Paul Kotheimer's new EP, Familiar, over several posts. Mainly because it's easier (and more "bloggy"!) than organizing my thoughts into a more comprehensive piece. For today's entry, I'm going to concentrate on just one song.


After several listens to Familiar, the song that keeps going around in my head is the final, "bonus" track, "The Great Comet". In what could be considered a sequel to his 1997 classic-to-those-who've-heard-it "Sputnik Lullabye", Paul takes an intriguing set of elements and images - a comet, a Polaroid picture, an answering machine in a landfill, and the "sparkly eye shadow" of the comet's tail - and alchemizes them into an even more intriguing song, one that's as much about memory and regret as it is about celestial objects. The melody is great, the cheap keyboard figure sounds like an interstellar transmission, and he somehow manages to turn the awkward-sounding name of the comet, Hyakutake, into a hook.

Paul is, as the British would say, a past master in the art of pop song profanity. He knows when and how to deploy it for maximum effect, to punctuate a line or administer a kick in the pants at just the right moment in a song. The repeated money line here, "a million f***ing years ago", may call to mind a foul-mouthed Carl Sagan but it delivers a little thrill each time it comes around. I have a long list of favorite Paul Kotheimer songs, but this one certainly deserves a place in the top rank.

No comments: