Proud (2017)

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Alex G leaning on his most under-appreciated strength – songwriting – to continue his tradition of crackin pre-album singles.

His voice is both more central (clearer, higher in the mix) and now more embedded and surrounded. (after the usual muffled anxiety of ‘Witch’, here piano, tambourine rattle at the end; closer to the folky strings and joint vocals on ‘Bobby’) Rolling wooden cart rhythm, jaunty skipping bass and singalong hook bring us in and along; lyrical ambiguity holds us away. Alex emerging out of the bedroom into the limelight but just as mysterious.

Always vulnerability: the world weighing in with spite (“doesn’t matter what they say / they ain’t worth a dollar in change”) then, quietly, more dangerously (reticent chorus desperation: “If I sink / I don’t wanna be the one to leave my baby down without no / money in her bank”) No more defiant “I am not the boy you knew”.

Like the suggestion of split personality in ‘Bobby’, (“Bobby’s just a friend of mine… / I’d leave him for you / If you want me to”) You in ‘Proud’ is a role model for contradictory impulses: “I wanna be a star like you / Wanna make something that’s true”, “I wanna be a fake like you…” Thus “everything that you do” is alluring but confusing, emulation even self-destructive.

Against this split aspiration the negative motivation in the chorus – antagonistic. Inspiration to inferiority. (Tom Noonan: “the more one of Fassbinder’s characters loves another, the less power he or she has; the more one of Fassbinder’s characters is loved by another character, the more power he or she has.”)

“If I fuck up / Oooooooh…” it doesn’t stop. Running away as the music peters out; the cart disintegrating on the cobbles.

Pumped for Rocket.

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