CD Review: Singles ’06-’07

Artist: Jay Reatard
Full Title: Singles ’06-’07
Label: In the Red
Year: 2008
My Rating: A/ 9.4/10

1) Night of Broken Glass- 9.3- Solid opener. I love the shattering of glass as the first thing you hear! It’s pretty damn catchy, simple guitar, nothing groundbreaking, but an overall sound recording.

2) Another Person- 9.1- Even catchier than the first track, but not as rocking, still great though. It’s an upbeat track musically (odd for Jay I suppose). Lyrically, this person gives him the “creeps” haha. He loves that word. The guitar is really catchy and I dig the mini solos. There is also great use of vocals (all Jay) in which he sings the lead and then he takes a separate set of his vocal and throws it in the background cool stuff! I’m not sure, if this is the first instance of this, but it’s certainly not the last. I guess that was an unintentional reference to the previous number haha.

3) All Over Again- 8.8- A good tune, but it doesn’t stand out that much from any of his other material, though I have said this before about other Jay tracks that I now love, so clearly early impressions do not dictate offical tastes. I will say I like the raw “Jay” drum work in this song. Simple, but not reatarded.

4) Feeling Blank Again- 9.6- One of the compilation’s better offerings and one of my new Jay favorites! Another excellent use of the aforementioned vocals tactic. The backing vocals are simply “uhhhh” but, they are certainly creepy and perfectly complement the lead vocals in which Jay describes how it feels to feel blank: “can’t breathe.” I feel a tad bit claustrophobic when listening to this, that’s how effective the music/lyrics are.

5) I Know A Place- 9.8- Amazing pop song. It’s too bad I didn’t recognize this song when I saw him perform it at Harpers Ferry (I only know he played it because I have the set list). I would have definitely sang along, but anyone who has seen Jay live knows that even if you know one of his songs, you can still miss it, that’s how fast and furious the Jay Reatard Colossius is live! But, I digress… Anyway, back to the song; superb, soft, vocals. This is a love ballad of sorts. Kinda sounds like it is crawling outta an 80s soundtrack, but good lol. That’s the best way I can describe it without insulting it, cause typically 80s pop blew massive 80s Alf spunk! Lyrically, the tune captures Jay’s “soft” almost romantic side; he attempts to persuade some girly into escaping “away… away from here” to a place he knows, where they can be alone. Most likely he is referring to some shady, uncomfortable place, like the back of a Volkswagon somewhere in the middle of Memphis. Then strangely in the next verse, the tune loses it’s love ballady sentiment and transforms into a suicide note about escaping said lover: “I know a place, where I can go to be alone, I know a place where I can crawl to die. Away… away from you.” Odd, but kind of cool.
6) Don’t Let Him Come Back- 9.8- Another Softie, but Classic! It gets stuck in your head easily. I really enjoy the slow beginning which I think is a guitar?! Haha, I’m not really technically sophisticated. It sounds like keyboards are ramblin’ in the background, either way it all works.

7) Hammer I Miss You- 9.7- Terrific sing along and extremely uplifting! If Glen can recall I was singing the lyrics on the way to the Jay concert and have been since. It’s not a rocker like “It’s So Easy” and it’s not a softie like “No Time,” it’s simply a pumping pop number about missing some Hammer dude. Gay Reatard cough cough. In terms of Garage Pop, you can’t touch this…

8) It’s So Useless- 9.6- Heavy and very very catchy. I love the loud guitars, one of the comp’s heavier tracks and yet still has it’s hooks. It’s more akin to Blood Visions tracks, I suppose, but it still has this comp’s poppy/lovey dovey flavour. This track stands out because it doesn’t have soft vocals like most of the other tracks, but rather they are screamed and shouted. You can headbang and mosh and do your thang.

9) All Wasted- 9.0- Cool track about zombies. But, not the kind of zombies you want to walk around at night with. Nah these guys are “all useless…all wasted.” A decent guitar solo (haha, you know what I mean) toward the end. This one lacks the catchiness of it’s buddies, but nonetheless has strength.

10) In the Dark- 8.7- This doesn’t stand out that much to me. It’s a good song, but just doesn’t bring anything new to the table and isn’t particularly catchy. But, yeah if you like Reatarded music you will probably like it.

11) Searching For You- 10.0- This makes the hair on my testicles stand up and do the tequila! For those of you Blood Visions devotees out there, this track is an acoustic version of BV’s “Fading All Away.” BELIEVE ME, you haven’t heard “Fading All Away” like this before. Sure, since it’s acoustic, it’s not as angry or heavy, but it is infitnitely more malignant. This psychotic, musical madness is completely unpolished, noisy and sounds like some amateur, lonely, melancholy, Jay fan lying on his bed covering the song, warning his listeners of his menacing plans of murder and torture. This callow sounding approach in no way hinders the song, it only adds to its eeriness, a feat I did not think was possible!

12) Haunting You- 9.7- This is pretty much like the above track in style and sound: raw, acoustic, unpolished, version of a Blood Visions song. This time it’s “Nightmares,” a classic in it’s own right. I really dig this track for similar reasons to “Searching For You,” but it’s not quite as strong as the former and I prefer the original (unless this one is the original and the BV version is the second? Release dates? Shit, now I’m really curious about this and the last track).

13) Let It All Go- 9.4- Yet another hooky love number! I really dig the poppy guitars, pulsing, but steady drums, and best of all the repeated lyrics, “And now I need you, and now I need you, and now I need you… say that’s you want me, say that’s you want me… you never loved me, you never loved me….” He finished the show we saw with this song and I can definitely see why, it’s a powerful closer and overall pop song.
Tracks 14-17 are pretty much the same versions of their Blood Visions counterparts, but weaker and of poorer sound quality, in my opinion anyway. Although, “Turning Blue” is an exception; it’s not better thant the BV track, but basically on par. Here they are without ratings:

14) Blood Visions
15) Turning Blue :)
16) It’s So Easy
17) Oh It’s Such A Shame

Overall, this is an exceptional CD and is truly underated. Some of Jay’s strongest pop songs appear on this compilation and it makes me realize that his Matador Comp wasn’t as big of a transition as I thought it was. His latest release, Watch Me Fall, is definitely his biggest leap, though it’s my least favorite, but that’s a whole other story. This singles set ranks behind Matador Singles ’08 and Blood Visions as my favorite Jay work, but it still receives a well-deserved A. I hear through the grapevine that these tracks are nonexistent online, well then I highly suggest shelling out some dough for this one, you won’t be disapointed and if you are, oh it’s such a shame!

Chris

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