Dearest Ed, Daniel, Chris' Taylor & Bear:
I feel guilty. I am so sorry. I, too, have fallen victim to the curse on this industry that is the leak. I’ve been a bad fan. It’s just been so hotly anticipated by not just me, but by everyone, the entire community that aligns themselves with the term “hipster” or “scene” or some other word. I just align myself with the idea that some bands just make good music. Grizzly Bear do make great music - they just instead have taken what they do great to the next level, a plateau far out of the reach of some of their contemporaries to make what Mr. Fleet Fox tweeted as “the best album of the ‘00s.”
It’s been on repeat since Tuesday afternoon. Most times from start to finish, other times in pieces. The other night at 1AM, it was the haunting piano and children’s choir filling up the empty spaces of album closer “Foreground” that I left on repeat while taking another dose of Tylenol PM to try and reduce the amount of sniffling and coughing I have done for the better part of the week. This morning, it’s the ’08 summer jam “Two Weeks”, with it’s exploding chorus. As Ed Droste extends the word ‘always’ in the chorus, his voice becomes more and more affected by reverb. At the same time, sparkles of keyboards and samples also flourish to accompany the harmonies of Beach House’s Victoria LeGrand.
I keep reading about “Ready, Able” and every word said about the song that starts off the second half of the album is true. Pockets of starbursts between every line Droste delivers in verse. The breakdown in the middle, where everything builds a trail to, is finally realized and might be the greatest moment in the entire 52 minutes that Veckatimest lasts. Easily in the competition of best album moment is the grand finale of the epic “I Live With You”. Drums out of sync, organs swell and burst like the night is on fire. Or is it a hot afternoon? Before you have a chance to answer it ends abruptly, moving in to the “Foreground” mentioned above.
“Cheerleader” has been something I’ve had on repeat in live form since getting my hands on the MFA Bootleg. It sounds just as hollow on record than it does live. If weren’t bogged down by just 128 bits of sound, maybe we’d find things to be fuller, more enriched. There’s even more catchy bursts that are also in “About Face” and those harmonies on “Dory”. Every time you listen you can find 12 more reasons to like this record. I know I do every time. But for now "Ready, Able" is just the shiniest of shiny moments to me - the apex of the highlight of their career thus far. We all know they're bound to make more. And I just now realized I didn't even mention the awesomeness of "While You Wait For The Others". Sigh.
Records don’t come like they used to. Wrapped in plastic, different booklets emitting different scents and aromas. Now they come in the form of files, zipped and rar’d up for all to consume at the price of nothing. I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to albums and when they leak; it doesn’t help that I also have a rather large streak of impatience in my blood. But this album, and it leaking three months ahead of its release date, it makes me sad. It makes me want to be 12 again, getting Pinkerton off the shelf at Wal-Mart, or my Dad surprising me at age 11 with Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, which I have had since its third day of release. I want that excitement back; I want the whole music community to be that way again, but I know it will never happen. I want people waiting in lines at midnight and I want listening parties, collectives of people taking the entire thing in together for the first time in the same bed, dorm or living room, not the same chat room or message board.
I’ve bought tickets to two shows. I’ll be buying the album. Odds are I’ll buy a shirt, too, but I’ll still feel guilty. What can I do to make this guilt go away? Make a pact to never download another album illegally ever again? Go and buy everything that I've ever obtained in that matter? This album is so special, so perfect to me that it just saddens me that I've ruined a moment I use to cherish so many times every year for many years.
All I ask of you dear readers if you haven't yet, it to just wait. Wait to soak this all in for the first time in May, when the sun is shining and it's warm out, when you can support the band properly. Until then, just take in this performance of "Ready, Able" from their performance at BAM last weekend.
[Pre-Order Veckatimest From Grizzly Bear]