Best of Jay: Singles ’06-’07 Review

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

Best of Jay: Matador Singles ’08

Artist: Jay Reatard
Title: Matador Singles ‘08
Label: Matador
Year: 2008

1) See/Saw- 10- My personal favorite from Jay Reatard. It’s heavy, catchy, funny, surely one to get stuck in your head! To me, it exemplifies everything great about Jay’s music. He creeps me out, but he creeps me in again.

2) Screaming Hand- 9.8- A nice tale about the young Reatard singer and how he was different from everyone else and started his band. I love the “You are my hero” and “oh No No No.” Extremely catchy. I find that SH goes well following See/Saw.

3) Painted Shut- 9.5- Simply Classic Reatard

4) An Ugly Death- 10- I try to avoid giving out more than one 10 on any album, but this definitely deserves it! I think this was the first Jay song I came across and it is very powerful to say the least. I love the epic guitar opener; it just makes my ears anticipate what will happen next. Even after listening to the tune a ludicrous amount of times, I still can’t get over those powerful, yet simple chords. When I’m shuffling songs and AUD pops up on my ipod, I can never muster the will to turn it down. My actual favorite part of the song is the “for you, for me, for all to see” the vocals and guitar are just perfect. I also dig the ominous lyrics meshed with the upbeat music.

5) Always Wanting More- 8.8- One of my least favorites on this compilation, but nonetheless a hooky and genuinely decent tune.

6) You Mean Nothing to Me- 9.0- Typical Reatard. It gets stuck in my dome from time to time. In terms of lyrics, People being meaningless to Jay seems to be a recurring theme.

7) Fluorescent Grey- 9.2- This is a Deerhunter cover. Having never heard the original, I don’t know how it holds up, but I enjoy it very much. Giving the nature of Deerhunter’s music, this one is a bit softer and more experimental than previous Reatard singles/songs, lacking the familiar chainsaw guitars and pop hooks. It works though and foreshadows future Reatard talents.

8) Trapped Here- 9.6- Haha, I always find myself laughing at Jay’s disturbing, malicious lyrics! Violence, particularly one villain torturing his victim and remind them that they can’t escape and that they will soon parish is a frequent theme in the long haired punk’s lyrics. Memorable lyrics include “Relax, Relax, Relax, my little victim” and “You have nowhere to hide and you have everywhere to die.” Haha, the music itself, menacing, perfectly compliments the creepy lyrics.

9) Hiding Hole- 9.4- Another signature Reatard tune. Extremely, catchy, loud, fast guitars, fast, shouted vocals.

10) DOA- 9.8- One of the more popular singles and it’s certainly easy to see why. One of the heavier and yet absolutely endearing songs from this album. It includes perhaps the best example of the classic Reatard technique of slowing down the guitars and drums and simply shouting one line over and over again till its burned into your brain. In this case “It’s No Fun! It’s No Fun! It’s No Fun!” for whoever is dying on arrival haha.

11) No Time- 10- Once again, a rare 10! I love this song so much! Completely Unreatard. One (you’ll see) of the softest Jay songs I have ever heard. When I first heard this I was confused, I thought I may have put on a different artist. In this number, we see a gentle Jay (it sounds so strange) expressing his deepest emotions. “It seems I never have the time to make my mind feel fine,” Jay’s best lyrics and one of the best lines I ever heard period!

12) You Were Sleeping- 9.8- It gets even stranger! I can picture this and the former pissing some Reatard fans off. Especially some serious Blood Visions motherfuckers. Most of the previous statements I made about “No Time” apply here. It’s a sensitive song, I couldn’t even imagine Jay playing live when I saw him.

13) I’m Watching You- 9.7- A fabulous closer to a fabulous record! Softer than most Reatard songs, but heavier than the previous two. Unlike the other two though, it’s an upbeat single, but it’s similar to them in the sense that they all violate the typical Reatard format. I always smirk whenever I hear the line “You see, to me, you always were a cunt.” Haha. This is much better than the Watch Me Fall version in my opinion.

Grade: A:One of the best albums (though it’s technically just a compilation of singles) I’ve ever heard and certainly of the past few years. Probably the best from 2008. Jay and the gang bring their roaring flying Vs with them from Blood Visions and Singles ‘06- ‘07 and mash them up with more pop and delve into previously unknown or unforeseen territories! Foreshadowing their next effort, Watch Me Fall. There’s a notable progression that is perfectly displayed here.

Chris

Best of Jay: Blood Visions Review



Artist
: Jay Reatard
Title: Blood Visions
Label: In the Red
Year: 2006

1) Blood Visions- 9.5- Perfect opener: loud, fast, simple catchy, a great foreshadow to everything else Jay would later do on this album and beyond.

2) Greed, Money, Useless Children- 9.2- Quick, little catchy number. Employs the classic Reatard pop technique of slowing down the guitars and drums and simply shouting one line repeatedly, in this case- “Greed, Money, Useless Children.” It is clearly effective and we see this over and over again.

3) It’s So Easy- 9.7- Lyrically this is classic Reatard. Apathetic… to the point of not caring when your friends die haha.

4) My Shadow- 10! Arguably the band’s greatest offering (actually “See/Saw” is my favorite!) or at least a major fan favorite. And it’s not hard to see why. The song begins with simple and slow, but menacing guitars then erupts into a heavy motherfucker with Reatard hollering MY SHADOW at the top of his lungs! The best track on this album by far.

5) My Family- 9.2- Funky guitars, spooky/disturbing lyrics, it works for me! Displays Jay’s bizarre interaction with the other humans or “assholes” haha in his life. This theme continues on this album and throughout his current discography.

6) Death Is Forming- 9.0- The classic Reatard technique is exemplified on this track. See #2 I dig how he evolves “Death is Forming” into “Forming Death” haha.

7) Oh It’s Such A Shame- 8.5- Decent, nothing wrong with it, but for some reason, just doesn’t stand out.

8) Not A Substitute- 8.8- Another typical Reatard track…. actually a bit shorter, but it works here.

9) Nightmares- 9.5- Excellent Pop song, sounds more like a track off Matador Singles ‘08 or Watch Me Fall. Fabulous love/hate song. The lover Jay speaks of causes him to have horrible nightmares, yet he keeps “Searching” for her. Good Stuff

10) I See You Standing There- 9.0- Jay Stalker haha. Just listen to the lyrics to understand what I’m saying. Musically, very catchy and endearing. I especially love the final line, which is shouted extremely fast: “DON’T MOVE!” ahaha.

11) We Who Wait- 9.0- Great sing along. You could march this one haha. Once again we see lyrics containing themes of isolation and generally misanthropic thoughts.

12) Fading All Away- 9.9- Amazing! Hilariously savage. Lyrically this is a extremely malevolent tune about an apparently psychopathic/sociopathic/schizophrenic miscreant who will go to no end to kill his victim because of “the voices in my head.”

13) Turning Blue- 8.2- Eh, it’s a decent track, but comparatively it’s just ok. For some reason it doesn’t do all that much for me.

14) Puppet Man- 9.2- Cool, catchy, funny, somewhat short.

15) Waiting For Something- 9.9- Sums up Jay’s outlook on the people around him and his situation at the time. Waiting for something bigger to happen and get away from all the “creeps” surrounding him. Perfect title for the brief documentary on him, which I advise all fans to check out!

Grade: A: A fantastic example of modern punk music with undeniable pop hooks and elements of noise rock. One can hear glimpses of the incredible (noisy) pop Jay and his crew unleash in their future material.

Chris