Monday, September 21, 2009

Basia Bulat's New Album, and Some Thoughts on Change

I have some very mixed feelings about Basia Bulat and her soon to be released sophmore album, Heart of My Own. On the one hand, in the first six months of this blog, it feels like I wrote about Basia almost exclusively. I could've been her personal publicist. I saw her play, I wrote about her as a contender for the Polaris Prize, I hung around waiting for her outside her apartment, and I listened to her debut Oh My Darling over and over. I was mesmerized by her voice, and was itching to hear anything, anything that she'd done. I scowered the internet for live sets, youtube clips and anything I could find.

Well, now she's done it. Basia is releasing Heart of My Own on Secret City Records (Patrick Watson, Miracle Fortress, Plants and Animals) January 26, 2010. One would imagine I'd be jumping off the walls (excited) at the prospect of a new BB album, but, well, I'm not. Not that I'm not excited, but I haven't been counting down the days or anything. After hearing the lead single "Gold Rush", which she is giving away for free in exchange for your email address, I'm less excited then I was before.

Part of this has to do expectations. Her debut, as I previously mentioned, knocked my socks off and really made an impression on me. That said, given the wowness of the first album, she was in a spot where she'd really have to do something to wow me again. I mean, if you think about all the great albums, and then think about the ones that came after, they were/are, by and large, not as good. Honestly, I can't really think of any bands that released an excellent debut, and followed it up with an excellent sophomore album. I have a hard time even thinking of bands that have released to albums back to back that have been excellent, very good, or even just good.

I think the second part of this equation is my inclination to under appreciate the status quo. There are some people who like what they like, and don't want things to change - with music, and in life. While I'd categorize myself as someone who is partial to the status quo with life stuff in general, with music, I get bored easily. I'm of the mind, rightly or wrongly, that if you're going to release another album that sounds the same you might as well release it as a book of poems or something. It's like, I'm a big fan of grilled cheese or kraft dinner, but if you start having it too often you're going to get sick of it. Maybe Basia and I just need to take a break until January.

After all that, I'd encourage you to check out Basia if you haven't already. She's worth some space on your iPod, and these videos from a show last year at Aeolian hall are pretty awesome:
"The Shore"

"Heart of My Own"

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