out of egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and i shake the dirt from my sandals as i run

Friday, December 15, 2006

Top 10 Albums of 06: #6

Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds

Yesterday Pitchfork rolled out their Worst Album Covers of 2006, and He Poos Clouds was criminally snubbed. Oh well.

Class, on Wednesday we were talking about the emotional impact that the Japanese video games we played as kids have had on us as grown-ups. Today we'll take up this CD, which, while it doesn't sound like video game music (and thank god), is a first serious stab at making music about video games.

Owen Pallett, in naming his act Final Fantasy, basically made it incredibly annoying to try and search for his music without coming up with bombastic orchestral reimaginings of Nobuo Uematsu's nerd-quest scores. Which sucks.

But deliberately, I think. When FF's first album came out last year, the name seemed like a purely nostalgic homage, an empty name-check to a proper noun from the distant past, like naming your band after the fountain retailer on Route 46 in Wayne (second reference in two days!). It didn't have shit to do with video games, which was totally fine with me. I understand that band naming is hard, and I tolerated it.

But He Poos Clouds is a different animal, because it reveals that Pallett had nintendo on the brain all along. Take the title track, which isn't the best song on the album but distills the whole thing's concept pretty well, and I which I think, after 100 listens or so, is about falling in love with Link from the Legend of Zelda, or maybe the act of falling in love with Link as a metaphor. Or maybe that's only part of it. I'm bad at this.

Regardless, the album's lyrical content is pretty bizarre stuff, especially considering that Pallett's regular m.o. is arranging and sequencing string parts into hysterical crescendos, like he does for the Arcade Fire and like he did on his first album. Here the strings are more restrained, more thoughtful, and weirder, and the lyrics follow. In interviews he's explained that saying someone "poos clouds" is emblematic of a mysterious and obsessive attraction, I guess akin to the "girls don't poop" myth of yore.

Yeah, it's weird. But it's adventurous anyway, and when it works, it really works. Ultimately you can listen to it not as an art project but as an album about regular old life, with the standard metaphors about love and unhappiness and shit. Gotta find and kill my shadow self. Gotta dig up every secret seashell. Holla.

Download: He Poos Clouds

and buy it from amazon.

Clearly I phoned this one in, so I'm taking the weekend off. #5 coming monday.


Post a Comment

<< Home