Let’s Get Out Of This Country
This album came out of left field and smacked me in the face. I’d never listened to any Camera Obscura; never mind that they’ve been around ten years, I’d never even heard of them; and I don’t even listen to Scottish bands (unless you count that one song by Big Country), so “sounds like Belle & Sebastian” is a meaningless term. Sure, the blogs have been all over “Let’s Get Out” for months, but I’m slow on the uptake. But what makes this album so ultra-consumable? In spite of its uber-confessionalism, everyone’s put it on their year-end lists. And in a world where indie bloggers are male and early twenties, it surprises me. What does everyone like so much about this album?
Here’s my working theory. Number one, Tracyanne Campbell’s beautiful but accessible voice. You can imagine her coming into your place, plopping down on your couch, and telling you all about the rough night she just had. She’s your friend. She’s good-looking, but in an approachable way. Number two, the music is what it says it is. No having to dig through it trying to find out what it all meeeeans. This is music for anyone who wants to break up with a girl or boyfriend; with a job; with their parents; with their rent; with life. It’s a simple theme, but it resonates deeply with the listener, who is likely disaffected in some way (if you’re perfectly happy, feel free to put your head on your desk till I’m done talking).
Number three, every song on the album is a variation on the theme — you know the theme. It’s the title of the album. So I took one line from each song (10 total) and mixed them up and made my own Camera Obscura song. Now I just have to get Campbell to sing it for me:
Tell me where it all went wrong
Oh let’s not pretend I needed the lesson that you taught me well
I can tell you this for nothing / you won’t win
You can’t see that she’s just the same as all the stupid people you hate
I’ll admit I am bored with me
I like it my way with no limitation
I’ve got my life of complication here to sort out
Do you think it’s time I put it out of my mind
Expecting softness can lead to foolishness
Who’s being pessimistic now?
It’s deceptively easy music; you think to yourself, but why did she need to write ten songs about the same thing? Well, my answer would be that it’s in human nature to rehash your complaints. This album is the girl friend that calls you up every night to ask you why her man left her, what did she do wrong, next time she won’t make that mistake, he was a jerk anyway. Or the guy who comes in every day and says, “Today I’m definitely finding a new job. I can’t work with these people anymore.” We work through our problems that way, rethinking the problem in order to solve it.
Tags: camera obscura
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