Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #61 Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
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#61 Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
I can't explain what this album does to me. Shut Up I Am Dreaming is like abstract art: some people go "what the fuck?" and others are crippled by the impressionistic beauty of it. I'm in the latter group. With Sunset Rubdown's first proper full-length, the allure is most definitely in the portrayal of deformed members of our species. This whole world's twisted beyond recognition, and though it's working with familiar tools – you'll recognize Spencer Krug's words the same way you recognize colors in a Jackson Pollock painting – the end result rests 100% of its meaning on the weight on associations.
Yes, most everything stands for something else. When Krug says beast, he references something roughly interchangeable with a human. Swimming carries the more sinister implications of anything that has not yet drowned. And lover doesn't mean lover, it means "fucked up animal who is a liar first, vulnerable second, and loves third or maybe never." Maybe this sounds bleak, but at least it's projected into music – a fragile collection of things we hope we will never be. The instrumentation carries this tense delicacy to fruition – glass bells tinkle through the whole duration of the album, and the deep piano on "Us Ones In Between" is indicative of Sunset Rubdown's keen ability to complexify what would otherwise be a crushing bleakness. Even in the manic surges on tracks such as "The Men Are Called Horsemen There," the cracks and yelps in Krug's voice rein in a climax that might careen into chaos. There's not much trickery going on – some sideways arrangements, maybe, or an unconventional piece of percussion – but mostly this is a classic rock arrangement with one of the industry's finest – most fucked-up – lyricists running the show. For the unstable sect of society, this is what the inside of our minds sounds like.
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