PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Mercury Rev - "Coming Up for Air" (Singles Going Steady)

"Coming Up for Air" delights in the language of Brian Wilson while penning a cavity-sweet chorus that swirls around the band's familiar baroque orchestration.

Stephen Wyatt: Nearly seven years after Mercury Rev's last gift to the world, Snowflake Midnight, rumors abounded that the much beloved band was no more. To the delight of many fans, the rumors were unsubstantiated. The fact that their music would be a slight return to the heralded Deserter's Songs-era -- the band's crowning musical achievement -- generated further enthusiasm from a fanbase eager to welcome them back. True to form, Mercury Rev released "Coming Up for Air", a song that delights in the language of Brian Wilson while penning a cavity-sweet chorus that swirls around the band's familiar baroque orchestration. Jonathan Donahue's boyish vocals and gentle performance emboldens the song's charming ode to difficult break-ups. [9/10]

Chad Miller: A sweet little tune on rediscovering yourself after a breakup. It’s refreshing to hear lines like “If you look hard you can see me/ I’m out there swimming." The narrator races around in the water “Like the other dolphins” as the soundscape builds around him. Synth-strings grow in the background until we get to a really pretty peak as a saxophone joins the texture. It sounds like everything’s going to be okay from now on. However, he throws in a last minute twist where he stops coming up for air. It’s decently thought provoking. Is he dead? Has he adapted to the metaphorical depths? None of the above? Oh well. It makes us think, and that’s what’s important. [6/10]

Dustin Ragucos: When American Football released their video for "Never Meant", the feeling of young adult love and its gravity left lovers and exes crushed in emotion. Mercury Rev's "Coming Up for Air" also bears a similar fashioned sadness via music video. The song is condensed extravagance, akin to emotion desiring to burst out. In this way, the bliss that wants to come out of Jonathan Donahue makes him want to resurface. He's coming up for air, alright, and listeners feel bathed by his light. [8/10]

Ari Rosenschein: "Coming Up for Air" is an earnestly sung dream-pop confection from these missing in action Buffalo, New York elder statesmen. Delight in the detailed, ornate arrangement. Marvel at the lack of ironic detachment. This immaculately executed tune could be the most twee example of rock music in many a moon. [5/10]

Dami Solebo: I really like the melody. It had subtle touches that make it quite memorable, and the collection of sounds at the end of the chorus is a really nice touch, as are the extra vocals. Song is somewhat moving, but the main vocals are a little annoying. Would have much preferred as an instrumental. [7/10]

Chris Pittaway: Finally, fans of aquatic-themed anthems about lost love have their fix. "Coming Up for Air" is a soaring piece of baroque-pop madness that's equal parts surreal, retro, ambitious and uplifting. Nobody can accuse Mercury Rev of lacking personality or self-deprecating humour. Here, they're willing to be a bit silly, and it definitely serves the song well. [7/10]

Paul Duffus: I interviewed Mercury Rev in 1999, or rather I spoke to the entire touring band except Jonathan and Grasshopper, which is a bit like interviewing the Beatles minus four of the Beatles. As a result I have a defaced copy of their classic Deserter’s Songs album bearing the signatures of whom I have no idea. True story there, true story. “Coming Up for Air” recalls that smudged album sleeve in the sense that I wish it was better and had a little more significance about it than it does. This is not Mercury Rev at their best. They are however to be saluted for continuing to pursue their own particular gossamer-lined notion of rock. It may not glance the exosphere like vintage Rev, but this could still only have come from them. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.00

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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