Friday, April 20, 2007
Joseph Arthur--Let's Just Be (2007)
Album-Let's Just Be
Release Date-Apr 17, 2007
Genre/Style-Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Official Site-http://www.josepharthur.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/josepharthur
Youtube online videos-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNF2cbW37mo
Review-Now that he has his own studio and label, Joseph Arthur must feel a lot of freedom when it comes to recording material, and this newfound liberation is most certainly evidenced on Let's Just Be, his second release on Lonely Astronaut. The album has the feel of an improvisational session, as if Arthur called up his band late one night, asked them to bring their instruments, showed them the sketches of 16 songs he'd been working on, and then told them to play (the occasional spoken direction of "then we go into a verse" only helps this theory along). Now, Arthur is a talented enough writer that Let's Just Be doesn't exactly end in disaster, but there's an air of sloppy experimentation, of demos and B-sides and other things that probably won't interest more than the heartiest fan. That's not to say that there aren't some worthwhile tracks here — the sad and lovely "Take Me Home," the poetic "Chicago" — but unfortunately, these are few and far between the Mick Jagger-esque falsetto screeching, the cocky '70s-rock guitars, the repetitive lines of songs like "Shake It Off," "Diamond Ring," or "Let's Just Be." Arthur spends more of his time meandering around different riffs and rhymes (like in the excruciating "Lonely Astronaut," which clocks in at 20 minutes, at least a quarter of which is an acoustic guitar layered with emerging and disappearing instruments, the word "I" sung continuously on the fourth beat). Unlike another prolific writer, Ryan Adams, who at least had the good sense to limit the accessibility of his wanderings to his website, and for free, Arthur is packaging his as a legitimate album. This may be creatively beneficial for him, and it may be a necessary part of his composition process, but for those not involved, not only is it not enlightening, it's not particularly interesting, either.
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