Big Star was an American rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, but reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. In its first era, the band’s…
My gut reaction to hearing “Kangaroo” for the first time after a few years of not hearing it: “Wow, this and ‘Ashes Of American Flags’ are the exact same song!” Which is not true at all, but it’s fun to say. The soulbond between this record and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is all too clear to me now.
I’ve never thought of this as a Big Star record. I don’t think Alex Chilton did either. It’s a logical extension of the shaggy darkness that fought its way into Radio City, sure, but this is ground zero. This is something else. Noise and lonely baroque strings and butt-sad pianos. The sound of a dude too paralyzed by aimless depression to do anything, but is doing something anyway. He is staying in your house and not leaving! Get used to it!
It’s so pretty though. Alex Chilton wrote pretty songs. “Stroke It Noel” is pure uncomfortable romance. Strings help this album so much. Lots of Left Banke homages that I never noticed before. Jody Stevens’ only song “For You” is great too! And NOT sad. All songs in the world are either happy or sad. You have to pick one! It’s that simple! Wisen up, Justin Vernon! Make a choice!!
A good record to listen to during your first week of college when you don’t know anybody and are too afraid to go to parties, so you walk around the perimeter of your dining hall over and over again hoping that somebody will talk to you. But nobody does, so you check the mailroom to see if that XTC album you bought with your parents’ money on Amazon came in yet and it hasn’t. So you walk back to your dorm alone. Do that. That’s what I did.