Wednesday, October 11, 2017

where is my spaceship, DIEFAILING, 2017

Album Review

Back in 2015, I reviewed where is my spaceship's mostly crocodile. Back then, I said that I got the sense that Josh Evensen "shares my worldview." The album dealt with themes like squandered potential and the numbing effect of the daily grind. Things I can identify with, basically.

Evensen and where is my spaceship are back with DIEFAILING, and let's just say he hasn't really lightened up. Here, though, rather than dealing with worklife and the daily grind, where is my spacehip take on mid-20s aimlessness.

"//" sets the stage with its choir-like intro of "everything's a waste / it's all pointless / that was a big deal / for a while there" before Evensen comes in with the realization that, no, "i was nothing! / i was no one!" That bleeds right into what I think is one of my personal favorite songs of the year, "nothing / no one / no distinction." Lines like "30 is the new 17" and the long list of "could haves" that Evensen rattles off get at that sense of being stuck and running in place. Like "snake juice anthem" from mostly crocodile, "nothing / no one / no distinction" is a monster of a song that -- probably not totally unintentionally -- reminds me of Titus Andronicus.

On "i wanna be tim tebow" we get the image of a now young adult who pines for his high school glory days, when he felt like a big deal. Faced with adult-type things like college, marriage, and starting a family, he just wants to go back and play football.

By "25," Evensen is already feeling stuck and aimless, but "what's the problem, kid? / you're only 25." When we reach "28," that repeated line "you're only 25," really has to sting.

After getting fed up with crashing at friends' houses and mooching off of their "big screen tv," Evensen decides he may try and shed the responsibilities of work, relationships, and adulthood by going back to college on "drop out of college 2: back into college." "i'll take out loan after loan after loan after loan / they won't be my problem." Things close out, though, with "don't try again," which is really kind of a restatement of all that stuff in the beginning about everything being a waste and being pointless.

Evensen and I connect on lots of things, I think. I spent over forty years following along with all the things that we're supposed to do, like go to school, take out loans, go to college, and get some corporate drone job. I lucked out by virtue of being born when I was. My loans were relatively small, and there were corporate drone jobs to be had; but I was never really happy. Nowadays, people who follow this path come out into a world that has saddled them with debt and offers them few prospects, not even the chance to be unhappy at a job.

And, while you might be saying (correctly, probably) that there are individuals with way worse problems than these; it ain't a good thing for our country when a good chunk of the young-adult population is underemployed, untethered, and crushed under a mountain of debt.

OK. Rant over.

Kevin McMahon recorded, mixed, and mastered most of DIEFAILING. McMahon has produced some of my favorite albums ever. In places, DIEFAILING features the theatrical drama of his work with Titus Andronicus (everything) and Diarrhea Planet (I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams). In other spots, there's the subtlety and the lighter touch McMahon's lent to albums by Laura Stevenson (Wheel) and Real Estate (Days).

DIEFAILING is out now and available over at where is my spaceship's Bandcamp page.

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