You Gotta Go There To Come Back
our score: 2.5 out of 5.0
the moment you open its case, and complete with black-and-white
photos of a kid and his older brother sharing a drink and a young
tot kicking around the soccer ball You Gotta Go There to Come
Back drips of aging, I-was-there-when-it-happened wisdom.
Make no mistake: this is a musically solid work from a skilled
band, but it's sad to see their catty Welsh edge fade away just
as they were getting interesting. Many critics cited their previous
disc, Just Enough Education to Perform, as their first
"mature" work, but it's no match for the gushy and brainless
nostalgia of songs like "You Stole My Money Honey" and
"I Miss You Now," which will easily have music journalists
damning their own words.
the high school graduation success of Green Day's "Good Riddance,"
lead singer Kelly Jones uses You Gotta Go There to lick
his wounds--the break-up with his girlfriend, alienation with
his friends and professional exhaustion. But unlike J.E.E.P.,
this time he has nothing to say about the music industry that
has beaten him down, which might explain the faintness of Jones'
pain; he's just tired of shouting. Unfortunately, his dense lyrics
make him see much more indifferent than weary.
While Kelly Jones' croaky voice once signified
anger and excitement, here it represents the album's sadness.
It is Jones' voice, though, that often saves the album's mushy
lyrics, like on the somber "Since I Told Your It's Over,"
where repressed tears and strong feelings are all that balance
the endearing but ultimately naïve words: "So take a
look at me now/Since I told you it's over/You got a hole in your
heart/I'll find a four leaf clover."
To be absolutely fair, the music is some
of the band's most solid to date. On the more dead serious songs,
Jones' spirited songwriting awakens the humdrum nostalgia ("Getaway,"
"I Miss You Now"). And at its very best ("Rainbows
and Pots of Gold"), his daringly grand piano-and-string compositions
form the kind of delicate evocativeness Moby had with Play. Yet
even it manages to be bamboozled by truly poor lyrical writing:
"I heard you're doing well/Selling art and everything/I like
you're stuff; good for you/I'll buy a piece or maybe two."
melodies or not, this album still gets old fast. The Stereophonics
have nicely cleaned up the musical clumsiness of past works, but
I'd take the sharp banter of J.E.E.P. over the untimely
soberness of their newest album any day. In his career, Kelly
Jones has never talked so much and had so little to say. Few bands
have defended and fought for their music with such unwavering
spite, and yet even fewer have resorted to such sheepish apologias
for their brutal determination. Oh well, I guess you gotta go
there to come back, right?
liked You Gotta Go There to Come Back...
Help Me (She's Out Of Her Mind)
2. Maybe Tomorrow
3. Madame Helga
4. Climbing The Wall
6. You Stole My Money Honey
8. I'm Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back)
9. Nothing Precious At All
10. Rainbows & Pots Of Gold
11. I Miss You Now
12. High As The Ceiling
13. Since I Told You It's Over
14. Lying To Myself Again