Critical Voices 2.0: Jay Reatard’s Watch Me Fall
What sort of music would you anticipate from a musician named Jay Reatard (born Jimmy Lindsey)? Don’t let the gothic, morose front cover of his sophomore release, Watch Me Fail, give you a distorted view of what to expect when listening to this album: there is only fun to be had.
By 2005, both of Lindsey’s previous bands—the Reatards and the Lost Souls—had broken up, and he had devoted himself solely to side projects like Destruction Unit. Instead of returning to his older bands, he embraced the concept of releasing himself as a solo artist. In 2006 he put out Blood Visions, a raw, noisy, and fuzzy punk record.
Now fans have been given something a little bit different. While keeping the same flair Lindsey has brought to all his past musical ventures, Watch Me Fall is essentially a noisy pop record. Whereas on previous recordings Lindsey would have added a distorted layer to make the melodies a little less obvious, on Watch Me Fail he has stripped them away, making the songs much more easily accessible.
“It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” begins with a quick breath, and without the expected layer of grunge, its bubblegum melodies quickly get stuck in your head.
A 60’s guitar sound finds its way into the opening strum patterns of “Before I Was Caught” and “I’m Watching You”, both of which conveniently mesh the sounds of nostalgia with a more modern and comfortable garage rock. The self-proclaimed twee influence is also notable immediately, as Lindsey’s groans inflect with Cockney sneer or whatever U.K. impersonations he can muster.
Other notable tracks include “Wounded”, probably the biggest diversion from Lindsey’s sound, which as showcases the full potential of his pop side. Meanwhile, “Man of Steel” and “Can’t Do it Anymore” return to a more typical Reatard sound (the guitar solo on the latter could only conceivably have been recorded with some form of alien device).
While this may be a small step away from his past, fans should rejoice in the fact that the Reatard still knows how to cause a little chaos on stage. And don’t think that his signature disruptive attitude has found its way out of the music—he still knows how to grime on with the best.
Check out Jay Reatard’s newest music video on his MySpace. The first video features the single “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and includes clowns, water balloons, explosives, and children beating the hell out of each other.