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Joel

Pedro the Lion - Achilles Heel

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Initial thoughts:

- It's not a concept album (which is OK!)

- He's really hoping to alienate the last remaining legalist/fundamentalist fans (there's that pesky f-word)

- Much poppier/catchier than the last 2 records, and in a way is reminiscent of some of the upbeat stuff from It's Hard to Find a Friend, which feels kind of nice and comforting. Always good melodies.

-Some good lyrics (the Holy Spirit telling an evangelist to shut up), some bad lyrics (some kind of love triangle invovling U.S. States?).

Pitchfork sums it up pretty well. It's less that I'd expect from a songwriter of Bazan's caliber. Anyone else?

Edited by joel

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It's less that I'd except from a songwriter of Bazan's caliber. Anyone else?

I'd have to agree. I've listened to it a couple times, and aside from a few clever lyrical turns (like the aforementioned Holy Spirit line), it hasn't done much for me so far.

Edited by opus

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Jason I whole heartedly disagree. I think it is some of his best work. It is just a rough thing that everyone wanted a different record then what he put out. Give it a few years you will still be puttin in this record in.

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Jason I whole heartedly disagree. I think it is some of his best work. It is just a rough thing that everyone wanted a different record then what he put out. Give it a few years you will still be puttin in this record in.

That could very well be. I have grown to appreciate Winners Never Quit in recent years, moreso than I originally did. However, in my defense, I really had no hopes that it would be "a different record", simply because I really had no expectations going into the album. Perhaps after a few more listens, I'll find myself appreciating the album a bit more, but for the time being...

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I think Bazan's cleverness has finally caught up with him. He's too clever and incisive for his own good.

"Years ago, in my earliest and pastiest days as a would-be writer, I once read a new story aloud to S. and Boo Boo. When I was finished, Boo Boo said flatly (but looking over at Seymour) that the story was "too clever." S. shook his head, beaming away at me, and said cleverness was my permanent affliction*, my wooden leg, and that it was in the worst possible taste to draw the group's attention to it. As one limping man to another, old Zooey, let's be courteous and kind to each other." - JD Salinger

(* or Achilles Heel, if you will? eh? -joel)

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After noticing that Jeffrey gave this album a positive mention in another thread, I thought I'd ressurect this discussion.

The controversy surrounding this record is intriguing. This may end up as the year's ultimate love-it-or-hate it recording.

Personally, I didn't like Control at all, so, naturally, I think I'll have to give this one a spin.

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well i think while some of the songs on the album are either morbid or bleak (in a david bazan kind of way), the only song that's truly contriversial is forgone conclusions, personally i think the song is justifide, but on an intial hearing it certainly has some strong shock value.

Also for me, i enjoyed control alot more.

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The controversy surrounding this record is intriguing.

Are we talking about "swear words" or just general disagreement about whether it's any good?

My opinion has changed slightly since my first listen...I've come to like it more.

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The controversy surrounding this record is intriguing.

Are we talking about "swear words" or just general disagreement about whether it's any good?

My opinion has changed slightly since my first listen...I've come to like it more.

No, not the swear words-- just the fact that fans and critics are so divided over it.

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Listened to this once. My first impression is that there's a lot to like here, especially in the songwriting department, and I'm pleased that this album isn't quite as plodding, dull, and unpleasant as his last couple, but I kinda feel like a lot of the songs sound too similar, especially in the back half.

Perhaps a few more listens will fix that.

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i have 3 Pedro records.

"The Only Reason I Feel Secure" -- Excellent remedy for insomnia.

"It's Hard to Find a Friend" -- I listened once; it was more interesting than TORIFS. Must try to remember to listen further.

"Winners Never Quit" -- Just got it, haven't listened yet.

I refuse to pay full price for CDs, especially CDs by a band I haven't even decided that I like -- and have bought all of these secondhand.

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I finally had a chance to sit down and really focus on these lyrics, and man... how infinitely depressing this guy is.

If you'll excuse me, I kinda feel like jumping of a bridge right now.

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I finally had a chance to sit down and really focus on these lyrics, and man... how infinitely depressing this guy is.

If you'll excuse me, I kinda feel like jumping of a bridge right now.

I don't find Bazan depressing at all. Convicting? yes, but he also writes some of the hopeful and encouraging I have ever heard, like "Of Minor Prophets and Their Prostitute Wives," "Lullaby," and "Promise."

Winners Never Quit is more depressing I think, partly because I can't decide if it ends with a hopeful note or not, and it all depends on whether these final lines are sincere or tongue in cheek:

count it a blessing that your're such a failure

your second chance might

never have come

What makes Bazan so hard to swallow, I think, is that he vocalizes doubts and weaknesses that I would prefer to ignore. That's also why I love him so much. I mean, how can you beat this:

It makes me feel so good

To always tell you when you're wrong.

The big man that I am,

To always have to put you down,

Put you down."

Control never caught me like his four previous albums did, and I haven't even listened to the new one yet. Maybe he's gotten less hopeful since Winners Never Quit....

Edited by solishu

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Pedro the Lion's Website has announced they are begining the writing and demoing process for their forthcoming album. There is a link for one demo that they've already compleated. It sounds good, but pretty similar to what they've done in the past. It should be interesting to hear how the album turns out.

I too was overall disappointed with Achilles Heel although it had a few redeeming moments. I was however mostly impressed with David Bazan and TW Walsh's release under the Headphones moniker.

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Had a friend turn me onto both this record and Nada Surf's Let Go recording. I put them both in tonight. Much to my surprise, I didn't make it through Achilles Heel, but I'm on the Nada surf record for the third time tonight. I don't know, that's just kind of "bubble gum weird" to me. It's like making a list of things you are supposed to like (that you don't) and things that you're not supposed to like (that you do). In order to console me I remind myself that Radiohead's new recording is due out in the Spring and at that point I will be back about my pop culture wits.

-s.

Edited by stef

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FWIW Pedro the Lion has released its third annual Christmas 7" via Suicide Squeeze.

The songs are:

1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

2. Silent Night

Of most interest is the altered lyrics:

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;

To save us all from Satan

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If good will to men and peace on the Earth

are how angels announced our Savior's birth

then isn't it strange

how many we have beaten and maimed

and how many more

we have hunted and tortured and killed

in this baby's name

Yeah, I've always appreciated Bazan for his subtlety. Yeesh!

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Can you break up with yourself? I guess you can. Pitchfork is reporting that in conjunction with TW Walsh leaving the band Pedro the Lion is calling it quits. Not to worry though, David Bazan will soilder on under his Christian-name.

I find it a bit odd that he's dropping the Pedro-moniker because TW Walsh is leaving. Considering Bazan's history of a revolving door backing band and the fact that Walsh only worked on one Pedro album, it seems unnecessary to drop the band name. Perhaps it's all Napolean Dynamite's fault. Personally, I think Bazan was wanting to drop the Pedro name and all the baggage of it's connection to the Christian scene. I'm not sure how I feel this. On the one hand, as Pedro the Lion he had done a great deal to further mainstream acceptance of a Christian making music and I think there is alot more he could have done. On the other hand, I wonder if the name Pedro the Lion was too associated with "Christian" music and as a result wasn't taken as seriously as it could have been. Perhaps using his own name will give him more freedom. I didn't see Headphones receiving as much attention for having a Christian front the band. Time will tell I suppose.

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Pedro the Lion has a new record out, and it is good. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/10/676403121/first-listen-pedro-the-lion-phoenix

Quote

Phoenix is the first Pedro the Lion record in 15 years, though David Bazan, songwriter and sole constant, never went anywhere. Under that moniker, starting in the mid-1990s, Bazan interrogated the strength of conviction and the nature of belief. After four albums, he retired the name, but continued making music, working through the personal thorns of faith and fidelity in his early solo output.

cover
 

Throughout his career, Bazan's untangled the interconnectedness of the bonds forged in relationships, but segmenting his discography under different names wasn't without consequence. Following his Pedro days, Bazan crisscrossed the country on living room tours and released new material direct-to-consumer with his Bazan Monthly series. He also put out half a dozen albums under his given name, as well as one each with bands Headphones and Lo Tom. "I've made music under many brand names," Bazan said during his recent Tiny Desk. "It was a dumb idea. Don't do that if you're trying to make songs over your life."

Given the title, it's tempting to call Phoenix a rebirth. But more accurately, it's a return, both in name and in form. Bazan returns to a part of his history by revisiting his childhood — and reviving Pedro the Lion — with the perspective that only time can offer. Reflective and revealing, it's a remarkable opening to a new chapter in Bazan's musical history.

 

 

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