Thursday, October 27, 2016
Describing "The Perfect Girl" (a new LP from Liz Painter)
What makes you take a chance on new music? On the choice of a new musician? The artist takes out something deeply personal and finds a way to willingly share that with total strangers. If a relationship doesn’t come about at first blush, an avid music listener might never re-connect. In the space of a few minutes, at best- less, among the more omnivorous listeners-you have to relate a story, a state of mind, a feeling.
Fortunately for Liz Painter, she knows how to write a song, and make those few minutes count.
Asking for a whole album is another matter. In this day of singles, the album format is either a commercial relic, or, more generously, an embodiment of the artist as she presents herself in the space of a show. Heck, kids listen to pieces of songs, these days. But let’s say, ‘album’ is your chosen conveyance of yourself as an artist. How many styles do you need to pursue as an artist? How many will hang together for a listener?
The music brings to mind mid-70’s Journey, and appropriately, it’s about an emotional journey. Use the time machine, then- or no? The Internet’s full of ways to build the future. Who among us hasn’t taken its information highways in search, at some point, of our past?
Music's intended as a companion, but there are some kinds of music predisposed to evoking introspection. It's not that you can't put on "Time Machine" at a party- you could certainly throw one with "Sidewalkbye" playing, if only in your car. It rocks out without speed, almost drifting there in space like a portal. There's a temptation to evade going where it leads, Painter says. "This time machine can't find you online" is the sort of post-cyberpunk lyric Neal Peart might’ve written. "So send me a letter...send me a letter to the same address."
It occurs to me how few of my generational companions have claimed one address for seventeen or so years. To stop moving is to settle down, and maybe I just haven't spent as much time with settled people aside from my family. I think a relatively new realization for our generation- I believe Liz is near my age or a bit younger-is one that the 1990s might be as nostalgic a place as we're likely to find again. "Set a course for 1999" could be a callback to a specific time and place and person. It can be a desire to start this crazy century over again- to reclaim a place that feels like woefully lost potential.
But what if there's no such thing as a lost opportunity?
Does the open road lead to the past, or to a future? I think, amidst a wash of wah-guitars, Liz leaves it ambiguous to suit your own purpose.
Cecil Louis Disharoon, Jr.
I have a bit of bio info on my website lizpainter.com. - Liz
Cecil is the writer of the novel Anywhere With You, the book Be Chill, Cease ill, and the upcoming IDW Publishing comic book series Hero Duty. He contributes regularly to V3 Magazine, and has played music professionally for over ten years.