Albums / music / Phono Select's pick of the month

Phono Select’s Pick of the Month: Bright Ideas – Saturday and the Turning Tide

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Bright Ideas is killing me right now, and it is a glorious death.

I keep flipping the record, all eight (short) tracks of it have made it through my stereo at least three times this morning, and I’m back for a fourth, because I need more party in my face. Scott Miller, Marie Davenport, and Tom White, write the sort of songs you wish you knew the words to, because they need to be sung by a minimum of 15 drunk people all at once.

These aren’t Leonard Cohen lyrics, but Bright Ideas doesn’t try to mask their lack of refinement. Instead (thank God), they revel in it:

Hey light!
You gonna shine for me tonight? Oh, I’m just getting by.
It’s all right
It’s just time it’s in flight.
Hey light!
Remember how you used to shine so bright?
Hey Light!

While the lyric sheet looks at times like it was written with a rhyming dictionary close at hand, I don’t really mind at all. The chord progressions are fun and smart and simple. Lots of major chords. Lots of familiar strum patters and not a lot of play with dynamics. But who has time for dynamics at a party (Do not fool yourself, every track on here belongs on your next party’s iTunes playlist.)? The recording feels live. Or maybe I should say it feels alive. And that’s the greatest strength here.

As I’m writing this, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Drake, Justin Timberlake occupy the billboard top ten. I bought the new JT. Don’t hate. But when every song on the radio is so clean and produced and careful, it makes a recording like this one feel so much more human, authentic, and necessary. There’s a sincerity in the lack of studio antics here, and the lack of refinement. Saturdays and the Turning Tide is a bunch of microphones pointed at a bunch of noisy amplifiers and drums, and a guy (presumably Scott?) singing his little guts out like music is fun again.

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