Where do I begin? All Songs Go To Heaven was, to me, quite unprecedented. Honestly, I didn’t even know about its release until Greg posted a preview for Lizz King’s album release party at the Windup Space.
Shows how informed I am. I’m just glad to not have missed out. Now, although there are a number of routes I might take to describe the accomplishment that is All Songs Go To Heaven, none of the obvious directions sit well with me for more than a sentence or two. This record’s brilliance is an odd breed, and I’ve been hunching over my laptop for hours thinking about how I can explain that more substantially. I’m utterly baffled to this moment.
How’s this: All Songs Go To Heaven plays just as well as a singles collection as it does an independent piece of art. Normally that sentence would gather a few intrigued rereads, but what’s even more impressive is that Lizz King’s sound is anti-homogenous in the most extreme sense. And, it being the case that I can’t locate the words in me to present a bona-fide album review, I’d rather talk about how moving each of the tracks are standalone.
Following a brief shrieking episode, Lizz King’s sensuous voice opens All Songs with “Proletariat Delinquint.” The song is more or less a display of the ground which King intends to cover during the remainder of her record–slow & sexy folk, heavy-beat electronics, steadfastly accessible pop sensibilities–it’s all in there. Next up, King’s mournful banjo breaks way in “Teeth And Lips,” one of All Songs’ darkest moments. “Oh, shit is all fucked up. Emancipated with this empty cup,” King laments. Pessimism, it would appear, is essential to her success. “K.O.” is a gloomy come-on, intoxicated, downtrodden, and absolutely infectious; “Booty Queen” does its best to observe the absurdity of a sexy Disney princess by means of a super-steamy dancefloor jam (check out the video for Lizz King’s interpretation).
“Tongue Tied” is the very opposite of “Booty Queen”–a hauntingly sincere folk number. Lyrically, “Tongue Tied” shows King at her best. I typed out the first few verses because they’re just too good to skip out on:
“I don’t know, who I should miss,
tongue tied with a kiss.
I feel shame; it’s a shameful world.
‘Cause there have been, too many men,
I don’t know how to begin.
I’m ashamed, I’m a shameful girl.
So now you know where I have been.
So many roads, too many men
want to give it to me and I gave it to them oh…
You know how it ends.”
The psychedelia of “Speak Human” embodies All Songs’ finest mixing: its melodies interact in ways that I never would have thought a low-budget artist could capture. The song is, for the most part, driven by its faultless production, where King shifts between at least three different (and startling catchy) aesthetic paradigms –none of which are particularly predictable. Following up, we are presented with “Mr. Fella,” a Shakespearian “Booty Queen” of sorts. It’s astonishing to me how sexy King’s vocals sound on the track, especially considering that some of her most mournful work appears mere seconds later on “Either/Or”–yet another teary-eyed folk number.
“Either/Or,” like its sister “Tongue Tied,” contains its own lyrical bounty: “and I know nothing’s absolute/so I’ll be square with you…I think you’re cute.” More earnest words have rarely been spoken.
Now, for all my trying, it took me a few days to pick up writing this post after I had completed that last paragraph. I needed some time to digest. Perhaps this was the fault of “Zardogz,” King’s last electronic hoorah in advance of her markedly acoustic album closers. Impartially speaking, “Zardogz” is without doubt an excellent track, but the manner in which it prolongs All Songs–following the sublimely conclusive “Either/Or”–proves unnecessarily taxing to the active mind. There’s a distinct re-upping to be noticed once “Either/Or” ends, and “Zardogz” begins. This concern is probably related to sequencing though, and I wouldn’t like to attend to that portion of All Songs extensively, for this review’s purposes anyway.
“Kissin Part,” “Ballad Of The Unknown Unknowns,” “Till They Do,” and “Twit” close All Songs in just the next 9 minutes, emphasizing the collective nature to Lizz King’s record. All four tracks, like the bulk of All Song’s tracklist, feel generally unrelated. Both “Kissin Part” and “Till They Do” are essentially vehicles for more of King’s heartfelt lyricism. “Ballad Of The Unknown Unknowns” is twee-folk caught without it’s smirk, and “Twit” gladly locates a jubilant place for an otherwise somber album to close.
Though each track is precious, none of them are particularly empathetic in relation to each other. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe Lizz King pieced all of this together in an attempt to spotlight her dramatic nature. I hope Lizz responds to that. I can’t bestow enough praise onto All Songs Go To Heaven, and I don’t think you could do yourself a better favor this month other than to seek it out at Ehse Records.
Label: Ehse Records
Release date: Jan 10 2010
- Proletariat Delinquint
- Teeth and Lips
- Booty Queen
- Tongue Tied
- Speak Human
- Mr. Fella
- Kissin Part
- Ballad of the Unknown Unknowns
- Till They Do
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