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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

B’lieve I’m Goin Down | Kurt Vile

B%E2%80%99lieve+I%E2%80%99m+Goin+Down+%7C+Kurt+Vile

The Constant Hitmaker has returned. On his sixth studio album, b’lieve i’m goin down, Kurt Vile brings us a much more subdued sound that may surprise fans of his last album. While Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze drew much of its electric sound from his prior work on The War On Drug’s Slave Ambient, the Philly native’s newest effort returns to the melancholic sound of Smoke Ring For My Halo (2011).

[su_pullquote align=”right”]“B’lieve i’m goin down is, at its core, an introspective confessional from Vile.”[/su_pullquote]The album’s first single, “Pretty Pimpin’”, was dropped in late July. On the track, Vile looks back at the choices he has made in the past and the impact they had had on him, singing that he no longer recognizes “the man in the mirror”.

In a conversation with Rolling Stone, Vile revealed that the track was “based on a true story”, and, at the time, he “was just mentally exhausted”.

The next single, “Life Like This”, was released in early September. The piano driven ballad follows the same tone of the first single, with Vile singing that, if you want to live a life like his, you had better be prepared to “roll with the punches”.

B’lieve i’m goin down is, at its core, an introspective confessional from Vile. On the toetapping tune, “dust bunnies”, he writes about his under par health, of which he attributes to cigarette usage. Later, on his favorite piece, “Wheelhouse”, Vile writes of being alone with himself, a common theme on the record, lamenting that sometimes “you gotta be alone to figure things out”.[su_pullquote]“But what makes the sadness in his lyrics so poetically beautiful is Vile’s wry sense of humor.”[/su_pullquote]

But what makes the sadness in his lyrics so poetically beautiful is Vile’s wry sense of humor. The second to last track, “Kidding Around”, is an ode to exactly what the title denotes. Vile realizes that his “stream of consciousness” lyricism may turn some people off, so he takes the chance to poke some fun with lines like, “What’s the meaning of this song/ And what’s this piece of wood/ I don’t care it sounds so pretty/ It’s change is so sublime/What was the meaning of that last line”.

On the closing track “Wild Imagination”, Vile is at his best, singing, “I’m looking at you/ But it’s only a picture so I take that back/ But it ain’t really a picture/ It’s just an image on a screen/ You can imagine if it was though, right?”.

Lyricism aside, the instrumentals on b’lieve i’m going down are nothing short of elegant. The album is as close to a solo album as Vile has done in a long time. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Vile said that he tried his best to get his band, the Violators, back together, but “it didn’t all work out”.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]“Lyricism aside, the instrumentals on b’lieve i’m going down are nothing short of elegant. The album is as close to a solo album as Vile has done in a long time.”[/su_pullquote]So what we have on the newest album is a more thoughtful, acoustic sound, as opposed to the crunchy riffs found on Wakin On A Pretty Daze. Many of the tracks are dominated by instruments not often brought out on a Vile album, such as the piano driven “Lost my Head There” and “Bad Omens”, and the quick paced banjo riff found on “I’m an Outlaw”.

“I feel like when I say something sad, I mean it,” Vile said in a recent interview with best friend and former Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon. I guess I’m just realistic – or I’ve got enough personality – to know that you always need a punchline at the end of it”.

B’lieve i’m goin down is not only a fantastic album, but it is also a sign of Vile’s maturation. He has finally settled down and, in the process, found a way to fuse his plethora of sounds into one cohesive album. This album will be replayed many times over, and will keep fans satisfied until the next release from the fantastic mind of Kurt Vile.

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