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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
José González
In Our Nature
Mute

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


October 5, 2007
Gothenburg-based José González took the world by storm when his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" was featured prominently in that television commercial with all those balls bouncing down the streets of San Francisco. His debut album, Veneer, also featured the song "Crosses," which was a minor hit in a number of countries. Needless to say, González had paved the way for his sophomore effort.

In Our Nature is the Swedish songwriter's follow up to the 8.0-rated Veneer, and it is an album true to the established José González formula of folky guitar based tunes, but one with less than stellar results. For whatever reason, this time out González found it adequate to throw in a cover of Massive Attack's "Teardrop" alongside an album's worth of fairly mediocre songs. It should be said that González is an excellent cover artist, and "Teardrop" is beautiful in his version, but that is almost all In Our Nature's got, the rest of the songs leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of whatever.

I recently returned to Sweden, my place of origin, for a two week trip, and whilst cruising through the forest landscape in a cherry red vintage sports car (a man can dream, can't he?) I happened upon an interview with González on the national radio. In the interview the songwriter explained his policy of never writing lyrics that are directly personal, and immediately I wondered where such a fool notion would come from. Considering the intimate, acoustic nature of his craft, one can only think that personal lyrics would help González make his music more interesting, his chosen format being the perfect setting for exposing one's inner thoughts. González's tunes are often warm and comforting, the perfect frame for conveying fears, hopes or biggest dreams and disappointments. As it is now, decidedly un-personal, In Our Nature falls flat.

So José, buddy, if you're out there, please, on your next album, open up to us. Let your heart pour out into the melodies. Make your music as beautiful as it has the potential to be. Share your heartaches with us, let us know what you think of. We're here for you, bro. Make a statement. Because the way things are headed your music will only be fit for commercials peddling cold, hard, tangible goods. Is that the artist you want to be, José? When you're dead and gone, tucked away into the Scandinavian permafrost, won't you want artists of the future to cover your songs? For that they've got to have heart, they've got to be personal, and as it is right now they're just not there yet.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg

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