Despite Agoraphobic Ifs and Buts

I know I said the last post was a placeholder for pics of Ultra Ninja on the sweet new ride - we've been enjoying bike too much for me to remember to get photos.  Speaking of placeholders, the Louise Burns post was intended as such.  The switch from the catchy pop to something more serious and melancholy, that was meant as a lead-in for me to talk about Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.  Not that Louise Burns isn't fantastic enough for her own post, it's just that I've been obsessed with KT Tunstall for years.

I've been listening to the new album for weeks now, and I still don't know what to think.  It's definitely more melancholy than anything that came before.  Also it does not rock, which is a pretty heavy shocker.  Don't get me wrong, if I had to file the album at one of those old-timey record stores, it would go into "rock/pop" but it  just that it wouldn't fit there very well.

And putting it into an old-time record store actually makes sense.  Because it's actually an album and not just a collection of songs.  That's something that took me a bit to realize, probably since I haven't heard such a thing in many, many years.  All of these songs fit together - probably as a result of the circumstances surrounding their creation - but you can distinctly tell a song from this album as opposed to the earlier ones.

So, what's it like?  Wow, I still don't know.  Some folks have said it's her best album yet.  It is undoubtedly the album that she is best on.  These new songs showcase KT more than her previous work did, and that's including the live stuff that's just her and a loop pedal.  And she delivers.  Her voice on these songs is just so much.  If it weren't KT, and it wasn't her fourth studio album, there would be a definite risk of coming off as emo.

But she pulls it off.  She's laying out some very raw emotion in her singing without ever coming close to going over the line.  She forces the listener into this world her songs create and then you buy in wholesale accepting of all the assumptions and perspectives underlying it.  It's aggressively engaging - and this is despite the fact that the songs themselves are really quite simple.

So, KT is absolutely amazing here. Delivering the expectedly excellent execution like the professional she is, all while bringing a whole new level of artistry.  The songs on this album are simple, but by no means simplistic with hooks that set so deep you'll be humming them in your sleep.  And they don't get old, I've been listening to this one album straight through on several long car rides and have yet to reach for the radio. So, why can't I say I love this album?

I can.  I do love this album.  It's amazing and everyone should all be listening to it right now.

But at the same time, this album is a loss.  Not that I ever considered her naive, but there is still a lost innocence associated with these songs.  And since she's so professional about the music, I'd expect she can still deliver the rockabilly and upbeat pop from the older albums - but they just won't be quite the same.  Although, the Hallowed Ground bonus track rocks pretty hard so maybe I'm off my rocker.  But even still, it's not that change is bad - this album definitely marks a growth in her talents and abilities as a musician.  It's just that I don't think I'm ready for it.  I'm personally in a much different place - one that makes listening to these songs challenging in weird ways.  But I will note that I am still listening the hell out of it.

Okay, on to some YouTube embeds.  Invisible Empire is probably the most like the old KT and probably my favourite track (these things are likely related) but as a result it doesn't make whatever point I'm trying to here.  So here's two other tracks instead (the first of which is where the post title came from):