The Michigan Daily discovered in November 2004 that several articles written by arts editor Alex Wolsky did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other news sources. Although the article below has not been found to contain plagiarism, the Daily no longer stands by its content. For details, see the Daily’s editorial.
As I get older and my musical tastes begin to swing toward the radical sides of the spectrum, but something in my heart stays dear to simple pop songs. Simple, low fidelity songs that are as catchy as a bad rash at a Michigan fraternity are easy to find, yet the trouble lies in finding songwriters who are as confident in their lyrics as they are in being nothing more than a pop group.
Miles Kurosky and Bill Swan have found a happy medium. For years, they were comfortable with being leaders of the pop group Beulah, nothing more, nothing less – writing simply addictive hooks layered upon driving guitars, horns and strings, backed by organs and other subtle intricacies. After their smash, When Your Heartstrings Break, they entered the studio and recorded The Coast is Never Clear, an album that brought the entire band to a new level of lyrical maturity, especially Kurosky.
Their latest, Yoko, only seems to continue that trend into the catacombs of heartbreak and despair, all topped off with a pretty pop glow. Upon listening, it seems almost awkward to bear witness to such emotional flooding by Kurosky backed by such bright music. Yet after all is said and done, it seems right. In fact, there’s no other way that I’d rather hear it come out.
“Landslide Baby” takes us on a tour of an afterthought, a tour through Kurosky’s mind; dripping of bittersweet sorrow and regret, we immediately feel devoted. The reflective, almost earnest posture taken by the band is shockingly beautiful. We see the same lyrical ideas continue into “Your Mother Loves You Son” and “Don’t Forget to Breathe.” Moreover, “Hovering” is an instant Beulah classic.
Throughout “Hovering” Beulah gives way to a breaking heart. Sulking and wistful, the theme works beyond its measure and encapsulates the entire feeling of the album and its creators. It’s the subtle bliss found deep within the heartbreak and anxiety that makes Yoko stand out as one of the year’s best.
Rating: 4 stars