PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Glen Campbell: See You There

See You There features new, stripped-down versions of some of his most popular singles, this time without the lush strings and countrypolitan production of his youth. His voice has also aged.

Glen Campbell

See You There

Label: Surfdog
US Release Date: 2013-08-13
UK Release Date: 2013-08-12

Glen Campbell originally recorded the songs on See You There back in 2011 during his Ghost on the Canvas sessions. The more recent release features new, stripped-down versions of some of his most popular singles, this time without the lush strings and countrypolitan production of his youth. His voice has also aged. Campbell used to sound preternaturally young. Now his vocals range from the sweet to the raw and throaty.

This works to Campbell’s advantage on many of the tunes. He never sounded like the hobo who bummed around trains on John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind”. Now Campbell spits out lines such as “knowing I’m not shackled by forgotten words and bonds and ink stains that have dried upon some line” like a person who has learned that life is more than pieces of paper. The experience of time and memory reveals what truly binds people together. Another good example of this can be found in the updated rendition of “Rhinestone Cowboy”. Back in the day, the introductory lyrics about him “walking these streets so long / Singing the same old songs / I never crack in the dirty sidewalks of Broadway” seemed like a youthful boast. Today, the track conveys a more convincing truth about the compromises one needs to make to be successful. The song comes off as a meta-song: its slick production was one of the concessions he had to make for “Rhinestone Cowboy” to be a hit; now he can perform the song simply and honestly.

Other cuts do not fare quite as well. When Campbell crowns in his old man voice, “She was 21 / When I left Galveston,” one imagines he’s singing about his daughter or even granddaughter more than a lover. And on “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, when he emotes “She just didn’t know / I would really go," the lyrics unfortunately suggest his closeness to death more than moving on. And changes in society have made “Wichita Lineman” seem as dated as “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine”. Does the sexist term “lineman” still exist? Is someone still needed to check telephone lines in a cellphone/smartphone world? Whatever.

Despite these problems, See You There is still quite a marvelous record with many more peaks than valleys. Of particular merit is Campbell’s new version of “Hey Little One” where he punches out the word “Hey” and lets it linger in the air for full effect. It suggests strength and weakness simultaneously in the sense that if the “little one” stays, the singer will be stalwart. However, he is weak without her. And there are two versions of the “Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord” on the album. The first version features light accompaniment and suggests what happens to all of us: we die alone. Campbell sings poignantly and is never cloying. The second version comes as a bonus cut some 40 seconds after the end of the track before and features Jose Hernandez and Mariachi Del Sol De Mexico. Something more spiritual happens as a result. The other performers reveal because we all will die, we are never alone, but will be together in death. The metaphor of waiting for the lord to arrive as a twist on one day we will all meet our maker comes off as hopeful. And all I want to know is, how do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr. Death. He may not be dead yet, but he sounds as ready as one can ever be. In the meantime on this, Campbell’s 62 studio album, he knows he will see as all there eventually.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.