Posts from 23rd September 2001

23
Sep 01

FROM DEPTH TO HEIGHT – Mercury Rev’s All is Dream

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With their 1995 album See You on the Other Side, Mercury Rev created a world for the listener to inhabit. It was a world where adagios and allegros lived together in peace, where the boundaries of the staff were not strictly enforced, where tones were free to be polygamous; sounds of different colors, genres, and creeds coexisted harmoniously. World building is a difficult thing to do and takes a lot out of a band — don’t believe me, just ask the Lord — and maintaining it is nearly as difficult, so for their follow-up, 1998’s Deserter’s Songs, they staked out one particular corner, an America romanticized, as only a Canadian can do, by Robbie Robertson, only more inhabitable and, therefore, less realistic. Deserter’s Songs, whose childlike sense of awe and wonder concealed a masterful sense of composition, hearkened back to an era when there were still frontiers unexplored and riches undiscovered. As it begins, All is Dream, the new album, is what happens when one gets lost in the unlit backwoods of America, when astonishment gives way to fright, when the fairy tales are stripped away and the nightmare sets in. On All is Dream, Mercury Rev leave the confines of their upstate New York estate, with the listener in tow, only to find themselves lost in a world of their own making.

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Promotion For Nothing – The MTV Video Music Awards 2001

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If people needed a reminder that the music video was first envisioned as a promotional vehicle for a recording act, the MTV Video Music Awards was more than happy to provide such evidence. Macy Gray presented an award with her dress serving as a billboard — the front offered the release date of her newest album; her ass had the words BUY IT stretching over both cheeks. Both Mark Wahlberg and DMX were kind enough to dispense with the usual teleprompter-prompted camraderie and gave shout-outs to their respective products. Usher was nice enough to sing a bit of his newest single (purely for the benefit of co-presenter Estella Warren, who probably would’ve plugged her last movie, Planet of the Apes, were it more topical).

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