Saturday, November 21, 2009

Take It From Me -- Track #8 -- Grizzly Bear

“Dory” by Grizzly Bear
from Veckatimest
May 2009.

Well, here’s a switch.

Grizzly Bear is now a band that makes pure, unadulterated capital-P Pop Music. I can’t help but hear the Beatles all over this album (see also, In Ear Park by side project Department of Eagles), e.g. especially, the single “Two Weeks,” which you might have heard a lot of last summer.

What’s curious to me is how little this resembles their earlier music (e.g., Horn of Plenty –noisy, electronic, often interesting, not always listenable). A curious evolution, & my general preference is for a little less sugar w/the medicine.

I do like this song though; it’s a kind of a suite, & I find the lyric genuinely poetic (“wo-wo wo-wo-wildly cohering in a watery deep,” etc.), which is rare let’s face it.

My usual music hosting site has let me down on this one; this album is inexplicably unlicensed there. You can still check it out here, or here, or wherev. Also, here is video of them performing the song live in an orchestral setting, which is kind of cool.


  1. I don't know if I quite feel that Grizzly Bear has totally entered their pop phase. They're definitely moving towards it. I love Veckatimest because it sounds so well-thought out and composed. I still think they're a little too heady to be unadulterated pop ("Two Weeks" and "While you Wait For the Others" are the exceptions, and they're both perfect, beautiful pop songs - though I will say that "Two Weeks" reminds me more of the Beach Boys than the Beatles, just for the record).

    I know that most of my friends who like "pop" music and not much else (I'm not calling them narrow-minded or anything) have trouble getting into everything but the two singles I mentioned (and "Knife" from their last album). But its obvious from the singles that they know how to craft perfect pop songs, and that they are at least a little interested in doing so. As much as I enjoy their trippier, weirder stuff, I think that they're at their best when they're aiming for a crowd pleaser. My bet is that their next album will be even more accessible than this, and possibly their masterpiece.

  2. Fair comments, all. & yeah, 2 Wks is definitely in a Beach Boys vein. I said "Beatles" thinking of the later period. e.g., some of this music (& a LOT of Dept of Eagles) would fit comfortably alongside much of Abbey Road, where the Fab band was pushing against the boundaries of the pop song box. That's the usual trajectory, right? Find success in a conventional mode, then start to experiment & see how far your audience will follow.

    What's kind of fascinating here is that, at least on the available evidence, this band is moving in the opposite direction: starting out weird, and only then crafting pop music in earnest. Will the Experimental Music audience follow in that direction? No obvious answer to that. I think a whole album of songs as perfect & poppy as 2 Wks might just leave me cold.

    But I can't say for sure.