Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First Listen: Jandek - Put My Dream On This Planet

Jandek - It's Your House

The other First Listen that I did seemed to go pretty well so I thought I'd give it another shot. This time I picked Jandek due to a recent conversation I had with a friend where we talked about just how insane this guy is. And I picked Put My Dream On This Planet because I've heard that it's one of his most difficult records to listen to so I figured why the hell not. At the very least, like Calvin's Dad always said, "It'll build character." It's just over 50 minutes long. I'll do my best to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.

So far so good. Just a guy with a shitty mic singin real slow. Reeeeal slow. "I don't care if I die. I don't even care if I'm in a wheel chair or in a bed unable to move. For all I know it's better than what I did today." Pretty depressing. Something tells me this is pretty stream of consciousness, off the top of his head, and most certainly not planned out. Sounds kinda like some 5 year old talking into his little toy microphone, just going wherever his mind takes him, except that this kid has already lead a rough life.

Jesus, there's still another 45 minutes of this. I hope it picks up because this is already dragging ass. There's no music, no beat, no rhythm, nothing except Jandek being a sad bastard and being extremely vague. Lots of pronouns, you (me?), they (the man?), it (sex?), and it doesn't mean a damn thing to me.

There's not a chance in hell anyone could actually enjoy this music (or lack thereof). I mean, maybe someone would be interested in this from a psychological perspective, but it's hardly entertainment. Jandek seems to be pouring his soul out but I bet he recorded this in one take and didn't do any editing or mixing, in which case even he wouldn't have to listen to it.

Just because some "lyrics" get repeated, does that make it a song? Or music? Or is music like art: in the eye/ear of the beholder?

During the long pauses, I kinda hope that maybe he passed out drunk or that he decided to grab a banjo or something. No luck as of yet.

"Uh. I looove you." Sounded like he was about to into "Wild Thing" for a second. Again, I'm not that lucky.

"I don't need to be conventional." I suppose he has a point...

Alright, first song is done. 28 minutes of that. Is the next any different?

Of course not.

Hey, it actually sounds like there might be some background noise. Is it raining outside? Someone rattling the tin door on his shack in the middle of nowhere? Maybe he's just drifting off the edges of sanity and shaking in his chair banging the legs on the floor.

OK, the end of "It's Your House" is actually pretty funny. He's talking about going outside and maybe seeing an animal, or a bird. I think the more fucked up/drunk/crazy he gets, the funnier he is. Similar to Dan Deacon's "Drinking Out Of Cups" but not nearly as good. Doesn't make the previous 45 minutes worth it by any means but it's still a nice way to finish it off.

It's finally over. I want you all to know that I tortured myself for your pleasure. I guarantee you I had better things to do than listen to this. But you're worth it. Maybe at some point I'll give Jandek another chance, maybe with one of his more "accessible" records.

I normally don't do this, but it's so awful I feel like some of you might be curious as to what the whole thing sounds like. I found this over at Killed In Cars, check it here if you want. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Anonymous said...

Man, you definitely started off with the wrong Jandek. I'm a huge fan and even I can barely get through this one (I actually even own a physical copy).
Some genuinely good ones you should try are Ready for the House, his first one; Glasgow Monday (a.k.a. The Cell), a recent live one that's one 90-minute suite with just really sparse beautiful piano and cello; and Brooklyn Wednesday, another live one that's one of the best experimental rock albums I've ever heard.
Hopefully this album didn't leave you with too bad an impression of Jandek, because even though he's made some almost unlistenable things, there's even more in there that's incredible.

Justin Snow said...

No, not at all. I wouldn't worry about it. I knew this was a rough record and that all of his stuff doesn't sound like this. I was just kind of testing myself to see if I went in with an open fresh mind, not knowing anything about his other records if I would be able to enjoy it. I thought, maybe this record gets a bad rep compared to his good stuff. I was wrong. I haven't written Jandek off yet. And thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely give some of them a listen.

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