Yeah we know, it’s been about nine months since the release of Mark Kozelek’s latest album, Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood, but what a better time to listen to the chronically melancholic and seldom sarcastic sounds of Mark Kozelek, better known as Sun Kil Moon, than while enjoying the equally chilly fall weather. Kozelek has been making music around for what seems like forever, recording his first album in 1989 with his band Red House Painters. Universally known for his tear-jerking tunes, Kozelek could probably even bring Henry Rollins to tears, however, Kozelek somewhat changes his sound and attitude with Common As Light and Love, inviting a more humorous touch to some of his songs. He also effectively changes the album’s instrumentation from his usual acoustic setting to a more electrified and synthesizer-led approach.
The third track on the album “Philadelphia Cop” delivers simplistic yet fitting instrumentation for Kozelek to sing and speak on a range of hot topics including David Bowie’s death, satanists in Detroit, and his contempt for social media. Kozelek even produces a parody skit of his take of music reviewers (hint: he’s not a fan) and those impressed by them. The song transitions between a few major melodies, the most memorable being when the instrumentation is purposefully reminiscent of David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” demonstrating Kozelek’s appreciation of the late musician. The varying topics and instrumental changeups showcase Kozelek’s strength as a songwriter. He’s able to make sense of and connect seemingly random, unrelated cultural information in a beautiful way. This song may not be your average Mark Kozelek tear-jerker, but it demonstrates that Kozelek doesn’t need to darken your day to make a good song.
Be sure to listen to Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood, out now on all major streaming platforms.