Smog - "A River Ain't Too Much to Love"

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No one really seems to be talking about this album. Hmmm.

I like it. It continues the Smog transition into conventional songs, which I am in favor of, though I came to Smog late (circa "Dongs of Sevotion") and the old-school Smog fans will probably disagree. It also carries over the nice warmth of (the highly underrated) "Supper," though I don't think it's quite as strong. "The Well" has the best lyrics but is probably my least favorite song on the album. Faves are "Say Valley Maker," "Rock Bottom Riser," and "Drinking at the Dam." Lyrics aren't as interesting as on his older albums. I also like how the way the cover is burned makes it so that the album could be titled "A River Ain't Too Much To Love" or "A River Ain't Too Much In Love," though that's probably accidental.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Kind of makes me think of a happier version of "Red Apple Falls," what with the fairly minimal acoustic instrumentation.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Is it my imagination or are his vocals mixed louder on each album? Not that I'm complaining.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I kind of wish Callahan made another fake-soul drum machine album. Everything after Dongs of Sevotion has been a letdown to me. Especially Rain On Lenzzzzzzzzzzzz.

joseph cotten (joseph cotten), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I liked this, but then I sat down to review it and now I love it.

(cf. Mountain Goats - "Dilaudid")

Sean M (Sean M), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This is such a great album. Probably Smog's best... I listened to Knock Knock for the first time in a while recently, and maybe I've just completely internalized the whole thing, but it's not as knock-me-on-my-butt great as it used to be. Still great, though.

Previous thread:
Smog "A River Ain't Too Much To Love"

Mike Dixn (Mike Dixon), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Rain On Lens is my favorite Smog record!

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 14:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

how did i miss this i love it

ullr saves (gbx), Friday, 4 February 2011 01:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

"I Feel Like the Mother of the World" is my favorite Smog song.

Evan, Friday, 4 February 2011 05:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

the best Smog album imo

nostormo, Monday, 20 July 2015 19:27 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...


I saw a gold ring
At the bottom of the river
Glinting
At my foolish heart
Oh my foolish heart
Had to go diving
Diving diving
Into the murk

And from the bottom of the river
I looked up for the sun
Which had shattered in the water
And the pieces were raining down
Like gold rings
That passed through my hands
As I thrashed and grabbed
I started rising rising

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:20 (five months ago) Permalink

the best Smog album imo

― nostormo, Monday, July 20, 2015 3:27 PM (two years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yea

maybe callahan's best overall

marcos, Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:23 (five months ago) Permalink

Inclined to agree, though I tend to think that of every Smog/Callahan album I'm playing at the time

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:27 (five months ago) Permalink

I really love "supper" (but this is great too)

well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Inclined to agree, though I tend to think that of every Smog/Callahan album I'm playing at the time

this. previous to this week, I would probably say Apocalypse, River or Supper is someone asked, but listening to Knock Knock again Tuesday had me convinced that's the correct answer.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:36 (five months ago) Permalink

Knock Knock is fantastic. Been binging him again lately, and the quality of this man's oeuvre is simply astonishing.

And 'All Your Women Things' is the most beautiful, heart wrenching song ever written.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 16:44 (five months ago) Permalink

Lol no it isnt

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:13 (five months ago) Permalink

"Hown could I ignore (your left breast, whatever)": because yr a selfinvolved singer/songwriter, or a dick, either way my heart ain't wrenche'd

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:16 (five months ago) Permalink

Shakespearean autocorrects left in

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:17 (five months ago) Permalink

You've obviously not seen a left, nor right breast like he has.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:20 (five months ago) Permalink

The sort you just can't ignore!

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:21 (five months ago) Permalink

there was a time when i was listening to red apple falls a lot

kinda want to re-listen to hear how it has aged

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:22 (five months ago) Permalink

But he did ignore them xpost

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:24 (five months ago) Permalink

I used to love Smog but eventually started thinking/realised it was a case of loads of signifiers (slow, meaningful sounding delivery, music largely a secondary consideration) but nothing to actually signify (his lyrics are juvenile)

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:27 (five months ago) Permalink

I still get The Emperor in my head sometimes tho

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:31 (five months ago) Permalink

some Smog stuff was made when he was pretty young and certainly partly speak from that perspective but "juvenile" is fucking off the mark

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:34 (five months ago) Permalink

i will fight you

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:34 (five months ago) Permalink

I am Star Wars is his best song imo, it's his later stuff I find immature. And putting a snarling cat on the cover of Knock Knock was a dick move. Anyway I don't actually like coming on to threads to diss ppl, just woke up too early and pissed off.

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:45 (five months ago) Permalink

*I am Star Wars!

albvivertine, Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:47 (five months ago) Permalink

But he did ignore them xpost

― albvivertine, Thursday, May 10, 2018 7:24 PM (twenty-four minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yes but DO YOU NOT SEE he suffers for it?! The goddamn regret!

I used to love Smog but eventually started thinking/realised it was a case of loads of signifiers (slow, meaningful sounding delivery, music largely a secondary consideration) but nothing to actually signify (his lyrics are juvenile)

― albvivertine, Thursday, May 10, 2018 7:27 PM (twenty-one minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This is insanity.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:50 (five months ago) Permalink

he's an incredible lyricist and i think it's pretty apparent in lbi's excerpt?

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:51 (five months ago) Permalink

in no way would i consider something like "our anniversary" juvenile

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:52 (five months ago) Permalink

putting a snarling cat on the cover of Knock Knock was a dick move

what

Simon H., Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:53 (five months ago) Permalink

Albvivertine no offense but i feel like yr opinion here is like one of a worldly 25 year old who totally gets it now maaan. I recognize a lot of these songs speak from a dramatic space of youthful angst and alienation but there is still a power in them that affects me as a grown ass adult. He was and is an incredibly piercing lyricist.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 17:58 (five months ago) Permalink

xp cat power breakup? I dunno, I think that cover’s hilarious.

JoeStork, Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:01 (five months ago) Permalink

i'm not sure juvenile is the right word but his vocabulary is limited, and i think his lyrics reflect that, so they can be misinterpreted as lacking self-reflection or being juvenile

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:03 (five months ago) Permalink

pretty sure the limited vocabulary is intentional. i've always felt a child-like simplicity to his lyrics, but the sentiments expressed are very mature.

808s & Deep States (voodoo chili), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:09 (five months ago) Permalink

Yeah his whole thing is kinda depth-in-simplicity.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:10 (five months ago) Permalink

he's got the voice and songwriting ability to cut straight to the feeling, so why labor over ten dollar words?

808s & Deep States (voodoo chili), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:12 (five months ago) Permalink

right, i'm not saying it's not on purpose

i was also gonna say his singing adds to it, but again, it's done on purpose

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:17 (five months ago) Permalink

his lyrics are juvenile

been a while since we had a good OFF t.m.

j., Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:20 (five months ago) Permalink

man, I don't know, I'm just a simpleton that knows for nothing when it comes to songwriting, but I find stuff like this from "River Guard" to really strike a chord:

Most nights I go for a drive
To to the highest place I can find
Stand there on a cliff with goose flesh
Watching the wind rip the leaves of the trees

Death defying
Every breath
Death defying

Soon we all be back in the yard
Behind the wall
Leaving heart
Dreaming of cool rivers and tall grass

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 10 May 2018 18:32 (five months ago) Permalink

A) I shouldn't post just to diss B) I shouldn't post if I've just woken up after three hours sleep. Also I gave up on Bill on Dongs, ppl have said his best work has come since.

albvivertine, Friday, 11 May 2018 00:32 (five months ago) Permalink

Juvenile is the right word, but with the negative connotation of the word removed and made a positive.

I've always thought of Bill Callahan as "The American Morrissey"-- which is simply to say, that if Morrissey's lyrics contain the best jokes in English music, Callahan's lyrics contain the best in American music. But there are also similarities and distinctions-- and both lyricists I would describe as unashamedly juvenile. "I am Star Wars today! / I am no longer English grey!" etc. Sometimes, in conversation, I've brought up both songwriters as marking the distinct difference between American and British senses of humour, calling the former "funny" and the latter "witty".

But yes, he's juvenile. Dress Sexy At My Funeral? Eid Ma Clack Shaw? 37 Push-Ups / And I feel like Travis Bickle? I wanna live in a bathysphere? Bill is in touch with the baby that lives within every adult male and he's making its ridiculous needs sound funny and poetic

I stan for early Smog and love Julius Caesar and Wild Love more than anything, and don't have much time for the basic-dumbass shit on Dongs Of Sevotion and thereabouts, but adore his recent records maybe most of all

nevertheless, he stopped (flamboyant goon tie included), Friday, 11 May 2018 01:36 (five months ago) Permalink

hm reframed like that it's practically otm

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 11 May 2018 01:41 (five months ago) Permalink

He's one of my favourite songwriters, I think about his lyrics all the time

nevertheless, he stopped (flamboyant goon tie included), Friday, 11 May 2018 01:47 (five months ago) Permalink

so because of this thread i re-listened to red apple falls

took me 20 or whatever years back and brought pretty vivid memories of listening to tracks like to be of use

definitely one of my favourite albums of all time

i also feel like there is a lot of bad stuff he released afterwards, but his recent stuff sounds decent

also i'm not sure if it's the production quality but he sounds so young on red apple falls

F# A# (∞), Friday, 11 May 2018 02:19 (five months ago) Permalink

Why is everybody looking at me like there's something fundamentaly wrong?

nostormo, Friday, 11 May 2018 06:19 (five months ago) Permalink

i always cringe a bit every time i hear the intro to 'the well'. "this one's called... The Well"

can you imagine if every singer did that before every song? lmao

meaulnes, Saturday, 12 May 2018 05:43 (five months ago) Permalink

lots of decay in los angeles and to a greater extent outside of it

F# A# (∞), Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:28 (five months ago) Permalink

jesus sorry billy man that was meant for the masculinity thread lol

F# A# (∞), Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:28 (five months ago) Permalink

*anyway*

wanted to post this, which is pretty cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHVNUrcyJy8

F# A# (∞), Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:29 (five months ago) Permalink


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