Please Explain To Me ... Grizzly Bear
The only time I saw Grizzly Bear, I was literally bored to tears. (I yawned so much that tears did start to roll down my cheeks.) Two years later, the band can do no wrong. But I'm still baffled. (Click that first link for Pitchfork's 9.0 review. Why does it seem like they're apologizing for saying it's good? What strange hold does this band have over people?)
There was a moment a year ago when I realized I was right about Grizzly Bear and everyone else was wrong. That's when I saw Josh Groban put the band on his "Must List" in Entertainment Weekly. It made perfect sense: Grizzly Bear, all dramatic and arty and hip without offering anything of substance, is exactly the kind of band Josh Groban would latch onto. Think about it.
My main problem with Grizzly Bear, whose new snoozer "Veckatimest" I reviewed today, is that the band band conveys nothing except some supposedly-pretty sounds. They aren't alone in that these days. The over-intellectualization is getting out of hand.
That doesn't mean everyone needs to be in a scuzzy lo-fi band. There are too many of those, too. But bands like Grizzly Bear seem more interested in showing off than writing a memorable song. And what that often leads to is something you don't feel in your gut. At all.
All good music must resonate, at least a little, in your gut. I feel strongly about that. That's not literal; a bone-shaking bass line does not necessarily count, although it might. It can appeal to your heart and your brain and your legs and your loins, that's all well and good. But you should also feel it in the pit of your stomach. Even if it makes you want to vomit. But Grizzly Bear doesn't even do that. Just makes you want to go to sleep.
By David Malitz |
May 26, 2009; 4:56 PM ET
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