Saturday, July 11, 2009

Big Star

In the mid-90s, The Jayhawks were at a crossroads. Mark Olson had left the band and while the band was a critical success, commercial success hadn't materialized. Gary Louris had to decide whether to continue on with the band or if they should break up. Obviously, they stayed together and gave us 1997's Sound of Lies, an album that is one of the most underrated of the 90s if not of all time.

The first (and only?) single was "Big Star." Louris talks with self-deprecation and a bit of pain about how that success hasn't yet materialized...

"Yeah I'm flat busted
Wild-eyed and free
Couldn't get arrested if I tried
A has-been at a mere thirty-five"


The song is a rocker, though it does slow down in the middle when Louris sings "But it's so hard/So hard/So hard getting by" and again at the end for the last chorus, "I'm gonna be a Big Star someday." It has some nice plaintive harmonies on the main verses and a great guitar solo in the middle (remind me to talk at some point about Louris as a guitar player). But again, it's the lyrics that really make this song and he gets in some good lines throughout...

"Seems it's high noon and I ain't got no gun"

"I'm perfecting the finest art of wasting hours"

The 4:25 of this particular song is anything but a waste.

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