Cursive: A Single Retrospective

Rather than review an album 3 years old (I am Gemini).  Some essential Cursive tracks that are perhaps more accessible and digestible might spur people on to looking a bit deeper into their records.  These are in reverse chronological order starting with the newest and the comment is meant to touch on why you should care.

“This House Alive”- I am Gemini (2012)
It’s the slow build to a fairly standard chunky guitar riff along with Kasher lyrics of contradiction where the I is convicted of criminality acknowledging his two faces.  The house might be the character that has forced the I to this two faced realization.  If anything though, it’s a toe tapper.

“From the Hips”- Mama I’m Swollen (2009) 
Lamenting man’s evolution and increasing adept use of language that leads us to lies and deceit, this song yearns for a return to a time before language.  Building from a slow rhythm and heavy timpani to a trumpet led crescendo the opening lyrics put our pursuit of looking good in the eyes of others in perspective.
“Dorothy at 40”- Happy Hollow (2006)
Life is a rat race, and sometimes we need to stop for a second and live in the present.  Despite all the shit that pushes and pushes us forward the moment is precious and chasing rainbows is as cyclical as going to work and coming home and going again.

“Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand” and “Art is Hard”- The Ugly Organ (2003)
“Our father who art in heaven, save me from the wreck I’m about to drown in… This is my body, this is the blood I found on my hands after I wrote this album, play it off as stigmata for crossover fans, some red handed sleight of hand.” The song charges forward with a siren like organ slammed over and over again for about two minutes then just the organ a drum intro to match and back to the roar. “Cut it out, your self inflicted pain is getting too routine, the crowds are catching on to the self inflicted song, so here we go again, the art of acting weak, fall in love to fail, to boost your CD sales and that cd sells, yea what a hit.” Self aware, self aggrandizing song writing.

“The Game of Who Needs Who the Most”- Domestica (2000)

The whole damn album is nearly perfect.  It’s a lament to the trauma of breaking up and trying to find yourself.  This song traces after the relationship is over and the jealousy games begin.  Quintessentially a Cursive sound with plucky guitars over haunting strings and howling screams. “So what was that secret, what did that prick whisper to you?  Was it playful and flirty or degrading and dirty?  I know you like it both ways.”
 “Sink to the Beat”-  Burst and Bloom (2001)
Self admittedly written to be rhythmic and catchy to broaden their appeal, the lyrics are maudlin (an apt word for most their music) but the spirit and energy brought by Tim Kasher and the band transcends the melodrama.

“The Rhyme Scheme”- The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song (1998)
Kasher, as he often does, breaks the fourth wall early on and acknowledges the song lyrics are meant to get someone’s attention but they are words “you’ll never here” and acknowledges his failure yet keeps on writing “words so sympathetic, symphonic yet pathetic.”  If ever you’ve felt futility, you can identify.  Sonically however, it’s heavy and not too pleasant on the cochlea– a harbinger of what was to come for the next decade.

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