A regular Thursday feature of this channel.

Peter Baird


Just get over yourself about listening to If This Is Goodbye just because it’s Chicago. This is an honest look back at a long career with a significant amount of death, drugs, acrimony, and forgettable top 40 blather right alongside the songs that constitute the fabric of our lives. “Let’s take one more shot for the memories/Life’s too short to be enemies.” Bouncy track, great recording.

Bartees Strange has one of those voices that suggests he has a thousand stories to tell. “Again you’ve taken somethin’ of mine/You’re reachin’ for more than my life.” Kick drum feels like a heartbeat, and reading the lyric it seems to be a broken heart.

I have said before that I’m not a big Cory Wong fan. I have to eat my words again, it seems. First Avenue (feat. Joey Dosik) has a late-seventies Steely Dan vibe with very modern sonics. I really like the hyper-clean production direction Cory is moving to rather than the way over-compressed hip-hop approach he was using. This is a great system test track.

Hatchie has a knack for grabbing my attention. Thinking Of isn’t a great lyric, but the vocal structure is so inventive. Still have the same basic complaint with all of her stuff: the main lyric is mixed too far back. I love texture, but as as listener I need some kind of main idea to grab. Really fun sonic shift from verse to chorus.

Ezra Klein’s latest podcast has a plug for Max Richter, who, to my chagrin, I’d never heard of. Back in 2014 he did an acclaimed re-imagining of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The album was a huge success, and in 2022 he re-used many of the same arrangements, this time with period instruments and vintage synths doing the ostinato lines. The result is startling, and while it’s all great, Autumn 3 is sticking with me for some reason.

This week’s problem child is Father John Misty’s Olvidado (Otro Momento) from an otherwise very strong album. If you want an object lesson in ruining a song by encasing the vocal in a terrible-sounding room reverb, this is it. The song starts soooo well—I immediately thought “this is a hit” and then the vocal comes in and just trashes it. Dry the vocal out and add just a bit more sparkle to the high end and you would have had a classic.