Paper Moon: One Thousand Reasons to Stay . . . One to Leave

Nikki Tranter

Paper Moon

One Thousand Reasons to Stay . . . One to Leave

Label: Endearing
US Release Date: 2002-10-15
UK Release Date: Available as import

Though maybe not a thousand, there are certainly a great many reasons to like Paper Moon's debut full-length release, One Thousand Reasons To Stay . . . One to Leave. Here are six of them:

Reason 1: The band's press release. I love a good press release, and Paper Moon has succeeded in forwarding one that's innovative and funny.

All the necessary information is there -- a short bio, information about the album, the players and their positions in the band, email addresses and websites, phone numbers and names of relevant contacts -- as well as a bizarre little strip down the side of the paper detailing tidbits about Paper Moon such as a "File Under" category, letting me know that the band describes itself as "new-wave influenced pop", the track numbers that are the band's own favorites and a list of artists Paper Moon "would sound good on a mix tape with" including the Cardigans, Blondie, and the Sundays.

Reason 2: Pedigree. The members of Paper Moon are seasoned musicians who have been working in the music industry and performing for a number of years prior to the birth of the band.

Principal band members Allison and Bob Somers and Chris Hiebert were all members of defunct Prairie Music Award-nominated band, the Bonaduces, as well as the mildly successful B'ehl. B'ehl's Bright Eyes record earned excellent reviews worldwide, including a Critic's Choice review in Billboard magazine, spent time at the top of Canadian campus radio charts and even managed to get a song played in an episode of Dawson's Creek. Campbell's vocals, also, are by no means unfamiliar to Canadian audiences, having featured on three albums released by critically acclaimed pop/rock outfit, the Electrosonics.

Paper Moon melds the best parts of each of these acts to create a fresh, hip collection of songs.

Reason 3: Singer Heather Campbell's squeaky, lollipop-girl vocals are reminiscent of the Murmurs, Lisa Loeb and, oddly, Joey Lauren Adams in her ode to her sweetheart in the 1997 film, Chasing Amy. Campbell's gleeful, hippie-like voice breathes bubbly life into the band's pop-fuelled, rockin' tunes, sounding at once innocent and dominant.

Reason 4: The band's startling ability to create infectious pop-rock melodies, consistently competent in their writing and playing. Campbell and Somers keep their guitars upbeat and forceful throughout, with just the right amount of pumping backbeat from drummer, Hiebert.

Paper Moon's unrelenting joviality is completely refreshing. The band ensure the album's energetic tracks -- the best of which being "Remember Me" and "Better Days" -- remain toe-tappingly catchy from beginning to end, though even the album's solitary ballad, "I've Done It Wrong Again", manages to get your shoulders shaking.

Reason 5: Song titles like "Your Thesaurus Won't Help You Now". With intricate, expressive twists in their song lyrics and titles, the Paper Moon guys demonstrate a distinct love of language. "Thesaurus" features a couple a real gems, including "Wrestle phrases from a frozen mind / Extract the necessary lines to ensure continuance / Of what I've taken for granted all this time".

The earthy "The History of Punctuation", about a relationship slowly falling apart, features a lot of this refined songwriting, with the band constructing mind-bending tongue twisters like "If fleeting intentions are ignored without resolve / Building together runs on and on" and "Things can never be the same / Empty pages speak volumes / Reams of endless chatter / Never see the light outside your room" sung by Campbell at rapid-fire pace.

And, the beautifully titled "Pancake Bay Weather Station" sees the band create another lyrically complex song about discovering the present by charting the past via old photo albums: "There amidst the blurry highway curiosities badly framed landscapes and poorly lit places is a startling revelation / I hadn't expected to find / This is me looking over my shoulder / This is me watching something that's just out of view / This is me pretending I had what I wanted / And this was you".

Honorable groovy-title mentions go, also, to "Sno-Globe" and "Mercury Is Clearly Opposing Neptune".

Reason 6: One Thousand Reason is simply a lively, intelligent blend of pop/rock tracks each instantly likeable, danceable and capable.


The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.