In our previous blog entry Lifestyle led us to the top of the mountain. Even paced and lyrically dark, Lifestyle‘s longest song, the monumental “Around the Outline”, is also arguably, for sheer weight, the album’s most rockin’-est. The shift to track ten, “Dead Air, which is the subject of this week’s entry, takes us — to borrow a phrase from “Around the Outline” — from a peak to meadow. However it is a meadow full of empty whiskey bottles, discarded fried chicken containers, and abandoned Cadillacs, a gonzo museum of classic Americana.
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Last week our tour of Lifestyle stopped to gaze in wonder at the minor miracle that is “Raging Bull”. At only a hundred seconds long Tim Midyett’s microscopic masterpiece is easily the shortest song on the album. It is no accident then that the track which follows “Raging Bull”, and the subject of this week’s blog entry, is Lifestyle’s longest song. It is appropriate that “Around the Outline”, a song with a landscape of mountains, peaks, and cliffs, should stand just slightly taller than anything else on the album.
“‘Raging Bull’, I think, is one of the smallest masterpieces of a rock song I’ve ever heard.”
—Matt Kadane, Couldn’t You Wait?
The subject of this week’s blog is “Raging Bull”, Lifestyle‘s magical eighth track, and there is no better way to begin the entry than with the above quote from Matt Kadane, captured in the extras to Seth Pomeroy’s essential Silkworm documentary Couldn’t You Wait?. With a concision typical of his own superlative rock music, Matt gets to the crux of why “Raging Bull” is so special. Not only is it good — and that’s an understatement — but it is the scale of bassist Tim Midyett’s creation which is so extraordinary. Lasting barely one minute 40 seconds, it is easily the shortest track on Lifestyle, and like a model city carved from a grain of sand, this tiny production contains multitudes.
Lifestyle began with the song “Contempt”, a song of easy beauty from Andy Cohen or, given the lyrics of the track, should that be the easy beauty of Andy/Brigitte Cohen? The opening of the second half of Lifestyle is a mirror of the first in some senses. “That’s Entertainment”, the subject of this week’s blog entry, is another languid classic from Andy. However if “Contempt” was a poignant, smouldering take on a broken relationship, then “That’s Entertainment” is an elegant firestorm. The two tracks are similarly paced but strike wildly different tones.
This week’s entry marks the halfway point in our series. “Yr Web” is track six on Lifestyle and for those lucky enough to be listening to a vinyl copy of Silkworm’s classic seventh album it is the closing track of side A. While the previous song, the wistful, acoustic, Andy Cohen penned “Roots” eased the album to its quietest point so far, marking a moment of stillness and poignancy, Tim Midyett’s “Yr Web” bounces into our midst like a Labrador pepped up on sherbet and double-glazed doughnuts, ending Lifestyle‘s opening chapter with a brilliant life-affirming ebullience.
We suggested in previous entries that Lifestyle‘s fourth, fifth, and sixth tracks — “Plain”, “Roots”, and “Yr Web” — form a kind of mini-trilogy centring on themes of nostalgia with all three songs looking backwards in one sense or another. “Roots” takes its place in the triptych with lyrics which send glad tidings to an old flame. Although it expresses feelings of regret, the song is not an apology. And it is certainly not any kind of come-on. Rather it’s an open-hearted acknowledgment of past love, the good and the bad, a magnanimous tip of the hat from one human being to another. In other words, it’s very Silkworm.