Rhett Miller – Self Titled

Rhett Miller - Self TitledIt’s amazing the shit you dig up while researching for a blog. It’s like uncovering a goldmine of information on someone…you know, kind of like stalking. I guess in a way, I spent today virtually stalking Rhett Miller. I feel kind of dirty.

Old 97’s front man and Texan heart throb released his fourth solo album, Rhett Miller, yesterday, and I’m diggin’ it.

Thing #1 I found out while virtually stalking Rhett Miller: He has a solo album that I had no idea even existed, Mythologies. I would have totally said that this was his third album had I not discovered this. I’m a huge fan of The Instigator, and while it did take me some time to come around (no pun intended) to The Believer, I do enjoy that album as well. I think it was just initially a little shocking to see the difference between The Instigator and The Believer, but this album is proving to be a delightful mix of the two. It seamlessly blends acoustic tracks, smooth as silk, overlaid with Miller’s classically vulnerable vocals, to pop-wonders filled with electric guitar, wild drums, and almost 60’s pop vocals.

Thing #2 I found out while virtually stalking Rhett Miller: His grandmother died recently, as did one of his favorite authors and personal hero, David Foster Wallace. I had heard so much about DFW, and eventually bought Infinite Jest. I thought that book was terrible. Like really, really terrible. Apparently DFW committed suicide last year after decades of depression, which sucks. When I first listened to Rhett Miller, I did notice a slight darkness to this album that his prior efforts lacked. Speaking in reference to the opening track of this album, “Nobody Says I Love You Anymore”, Miller says: “…I realized every lyric in the song I could bring back to something about my relationship with [Wallace’s] work. Like the lines, “Same time tomorrow, I know where you will be/Same place as always, right here beside me.” I imagined the copy I have of “Infinite Jest,” which is held together by duct tape and sits on my bedside table. Every morning when I wake up, it’s basically the first thing I see.” I never knew Miller was such an avid reader. I think anyone who has ever picked up a book has a book like that. I remember Hunter S. Thompson dying, and Kurt Vonnegut, and feeling something inside me die a little. Like we have these emissions of light in a world so dark and poof, they’re gone. With the state of society today, will we ever have writers like that again? Will we have people willing to tell the media to fuck off and write whatever the hell they want to write? Or eventually, will all media be so censored, that we’ll never have this again? Everyone will end up too afraid to test the system.

Whoa…I got way off track there. Back to Rhett Miller…

Like I said, this album has a degree of macabre to it that I have never heard out of Miller, but it still has elements of that southern sweetness with “Like Love”, “I Need to Know Where I Stand”, “If It’s Not Love”, and “Sometimes” (which was apparently plagarized from his daughter, Soleil. Royalties anyone?).

Amid all those sweet little love songs, Miller does throw in some ones to tap your foot to, like “Caroline”, “Another Girlfriend” and “Refusing Temptation”, as well as some tracks eerily reminiscent of early Elvis Costello, like “Bonfire”, “Haphazard”, and “Lashes”.

Thing #3 I found out while virtually stalking Rhett Miller: He is doing a guest thing over at Magnet Magazine this week. Warning: extremely charming Texan. He actually says “…holla!” *snicker*

All in all, this album is good, and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. B

Rhett Miller’s Solo Site
Old 97’s Site

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