May 26, 2003
Silver Lake

Does everybody love Vic Chesnutt?

The good news is, he's back.

I regard West of Rome, Little, Drunk, and Is The Actor Happy?, to be as fine a combination of albums as has ever been produced. Yet while I was also taken with The Salesman and Bernadette, and About to Choke, I have to say that Left To His Own Devices, Merriment, and the Wide Spread Panic-stuff never did much for me.

With Silver Lake, he's in fine form again - he might be better than ever. His suicidey songs, for instance, feel more refined, and perhaps more overtly sincere than they've felt in years:

"i'm a cheap, spent shell
and a biohazard
grind me up then mail me away
maybe transmogrified
i'll be satisfied
that finally at long last i'm harmless."

And he can still make a happy melody, even out of a song like Fa-la-la which seems to take place entirely in hospital. Sultan, So Mighty, about an eunuch who serves as confidant to the women who go with the ladies' men, is as superb a song as anything Chesnutt's ever crafted, as is the number that features the chorus "Stay inside", which repeats until it sounds like the most under-celebrated rock n'roll sentiment of our time. Band Camp, a nostalgic little one off, I'm Through, (the stellar suicidey-song that kicks off the album,) and Girls Say, which charts the attitudinal differences between the sexes, (and offers a hilariously inflected, "Why you wanna be a bitch?") make this a positively rich offering, free of any of the filler-tunes that have crept on to even his finest past-recordings.

And there's a kind of affirmation on In My Way, Yes that will be music to the ears of those who have adored Chesnutt, and sensed deep-down (perhaps rightly) they appreciated him more than he could appreciate himself. "Do you think you make a difference? I say yes, in my life, yes," and then, "I never thought I'd have a life like this, I never dreamed I'd be alive", and the way it sounds, you hear all about his love for life.

I got the sense he had a good time making this album, which hopefully means he'll go right ahead and crank out another.


For me, the question is, Do I deserve Vic Chesnutt? And the answer seems to be - not really. So, best appreciate him as much as I can while he's around - there just aren't many voices out there as golden as his.

Posted by at May 26, 2003 11:57 AM

Ignorant slut that I am, I've never even heard Mr. Chestnut. Perchance I may "borrow" a disc or two?

Incidentally you need to close your i tag after "left to his own devices".

Posted by: D on May 26, 2003 12:54 PM .

You will borrow, kind sir, oh my-- how you will borrow!

Posted by: on May 26, 2003 01:00 PM .


Posted by: mp3 on November 6, 2004 12:01 PM .
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