By Ian Bremner
Though it may have felt like fall throughout the country for the last few weeks, there’s something about the calendar officially reading “First Day Of Autumn” that seems to really change the tone. Football and wardrobes aren’t the only things to change once Fall hits. Perhaps most important is your life’s soundtrack. This is true for all seasonal changes, but sometimes you get lucky and an album comes out at exactly the right time. This time last year was Hiss Golden Messenger‘s, Lateness Of Dancers. This time it is Kurt Vile’s gorgeous, vibey LP, b’lieve I’m goin’ down. As it was streaming last week before it’s official release, first thoughts were, “well, the ears better get used to this for the next 6 weeks.”
“b’lieve i’m goin’ down” is perhaps his most vibey record. It has shades of Contant Hitmaker and Smoke Ring For My Halo, his older lo-fi acoustic days, with songs like Wild Imagination and That’s Life Tho (almost hate to say), which sounds like it could be a sequel to Runner Ups. Then, there are the upper-poppy songs like Pretty Pimpin and Dust Bunnies. His affinity for the banjo is well known and he even dusted that off with one of the album’s standouts, I’m An Outlaw. There is also noticeably more piano and keyboard in the evolution of Vile. Life Like This and Lost In My Head There use the keys to even further the relaxed vibe. It feels so good on the soul.
No matter how chill or stoned someone is, very few people, let alone songwriters can get away with what Kurt Vile says. In Kidding Around, one the lines has Vile sitting back listening to his own pretty song wondering, “what’s the meaning of this song and whats this piece of wood, I don’t care, it sounds so pretty.”
Despite the slacker image, Kurt Vile is a confident dude. In Life Like This, the second single, he will sing in complete deadpan, “Wanna life a life like mine, yeah, well get in line.”
Kurt Vile’s songwriting is not purely observational and spacey, it is also very introspective, questioning and REAL, and that is why so many people can relate to the tunes and feel his vibes.
Feel the vibes and welcome fall.
Life Like This
b’lieve i’m goin down