Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Albums of the Decade: Jim O'Rourke: Insignificance

Over the next month or so, I'll be highlighting some of the albums that I think are among the best of the decade. There will be no order to them, I'll just put them up as they come to me. Maybe I'll rank them at the end, but I don't think so.

Looking at you reminds me of staring at the sun,
And how the blind are so damn lucky.

These charming words are just a small example of the heartfelt lyrics you can expect on Jim O'Rourke's Insignificance, an album where the vitriol of the sentiment is only matched by the prettiness of the arrangements.
O'Rourke is probably best known, if at all, for his work as a producer with some of the biggest names in indie music (also, and this is an extremely interesting fact, he co-wrote the songs for the actually quite good Jack Black vehicle, School of Rock). He's no slouch as a performer, though, as this album demonstrates. A charge could be leveled against it that it is just a work of pastiche, simply retooling some crusty '70s rock stylings. This would be missing the point, I think. The album's classic sound (and it is incredibly well produced), is used to lull the listener into a false sense of security while O'Rourke pours bile over various, thankfully, unidentified people.
The lyrical concerns range from loneliness (on the gorgeously understated Good Times) to break up fuck yous (All Downhill from Here) and back, making brief stops at bondage (Life goes off) and, best of all, wanting someone he knows, and presumably hates, to be told it's his last night on Earth, and then, when he has taken a girl home to comfort him in his last hours, finding out that he is paralysed and can't even kick the girl, who has gone to sleep because she has work in the morning, to stop her from snoring. Cute.
Enjoy this track, I couldn't find one without the movie picture. I'm thinking Jim isn't much of a video guy.


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