Monday, December 01, 2008

Arms Against Atrophy: Volume II

Eh, what the hell?

Marnie Stern's This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That (holy fuck) is one of the boldest, most fleshed out, utterly exhausting albums of the decade. I'm still trying to figure out whether or not any of this is a positive. It's not that the album itself is a departure for Stern; but the chopped up, spliced together, pop-minded rock lunacy that goes on all over this LP is undeniably unique--even for Marnie Stern. And it's really her that keeps you interested. The sonic schizophrenia is fascinating in its own right, but Stern is probably Indie Rock's favorite little nutcase that no one knows about yet.

Sticking with unique women...Erykah Badu's opus New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) is about as simultaneously vicious and vulnerable as an album can get. Purposely stripping down her persona to its most raw realization, New Amerykah is Badu at her strongest and most honest--which is saying a lot for such an artist. A piled on funk/R&B sonic assault that finds introspection as well as anger to be equally admirable qualities, New Amerykah is a brilliantly staged album, unfolding like a genuine experience that is both cutting and comforting.