Notes on Christopher Owens’ Lysandre.
This has to be one of the worst records I’ve heard by a major artist. That was what I originally thought anyway. Then I asked myself why I regarded Owens as a “major” artist. The awful sub-“Greensleeves” theme — and I mean it’s awful, technically and aesthetically — is featured on two instrumentals, then gets repeated on flute, sax, electric piano, electric guitar. When the chord switches from minor to major at the end of the figure it’s less like resolution and more like fingernails on a blackboard.
Notes on the lyrics:
Here We Go: “And if your heart is broken/You will find fellowship with me/And if your ears are open/You will hear honesty from me, tonight” — honesty and sincerity is a recurring theme, and in his case, a completely misplaced virtue. To write the totally banal “Hair on my head, tongue in my mouth/I have got it all figured out” if only to turn it around in the next line for sexual purposes is totally stupid.
New York City: “I remember learning how to make a quick hundred bucks/Sleeping in the back of a pickup truck/I remember looking through the barrel of a loaded gun/Texas cops and cooking drugs.” Now imagine it with Owens’ wisp of a voice and the shittiest saxophone side commentary possible.
A Broken Heart: Although the grammatically incorrect “you and I” rankles (doesn’t serve any rhyme scheme to not use “me,” but still) this is one of the more tolerable songs, but once again, the kill-myself-over-love theme is really insufferable.
Here We Go Again: Not into love, but into drugs: “I’m not sorry/Gonna keep on usin,” though I imagine it’s a metaphor, if a really sick one. This is where we run into the infamous “Don’t try to harsh my mellow.”
Love is in the Ear of the Listener: The key song on the record. “What if everybody just thinks I’m a phony/What if nobody ever gets it/Well, some people never get anything/And I shouldn’t care what people think” proves he values content over quality, thinks sincerity is the key when it’s really the maturity level inherent in what he saying. Which leads me to…
Lysandre: “You can run away and hide/But I’m not gonna worry, I’m not in a hurry/You will come around to me in time” is creepier a sentiment than usual here, but in a stalker type way, just the usual codependency. Then there’s the annoyingly cloying a-prefixing of “kissing and a-huggin.” Bleachhh.
Everything You Knew: Actually somewhat interesting. Constructed like a standard love song, but ends: “I knew that even if my plane went down/I’d be just fine if I was thinking about/falling in love with you/On the first tour with my band.” The first three lines make me wince, but the last one is such a bizarre afterthought.
Part of Me: I think you know where this is going.
I’m thinking a C, maybe a C-. Unlistenable, makes me wince, lots of really embarrassing moments, I don’t really love one tune here, totally half-assed. Time: 28 minutes, about as long as the Solange EP.