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Blue Corpse

Blue Corpse is the fifteenth album by Jandek, and his second for 1987. Essentially a duet album with "Eddie," it addresses heartbreak and is considered by many to be the easiest point of entry into the Corwood catalog.

Overview

Blue Corpse may or may not be about a breakup (as many critics argue), and it could or could not be the best place for people new to Jandek's music to start (as suggested by the Allmusic review). It is a dark folk album in which "Eddie" and the Corwood Rep come to an understanding and create some emotional music. It's "Eddie's" vocals and guitar that provide the most striking changes, as the musician brings a smoother, slightly deeper voice to the proceedings. In the opening number he sings "I passed by the building/you were working in...I wanted to lie in your arms again...I wanted to die." This leads to a series of trade-offs between the two musicians, with "Eddie" seeming to play most of the guitar (there are times when the unique guitar playing styles of the Corwood Representative are obvious) and singing most of the first three tracks and the last song. The rest are sung by the usual male vocalist, who in one song moans "go and see your other man." This leads to a few lighter numbers ("Down at the Ball Park" seems both a lark and a sincere remembrance of "creamin' 'em down at the ball park.")

The original second side then began with "Harmonica," which features a musician playing a difficult to categorize blues for five and a half minutes on echo-laden harmonica. "Eddie" attempts to add some guitar here and there, but he mostly stays out of the way. This leads to a genuine curiosity - the only cover song in Jandek history. That would be "House of the Rising Sun," though the Jandek list at one point argued as to whether or not this was an actual cover. However, close listening reveals it to be the traditional folk song with a drastically changed pace (and Eddie seems to be playing an entirely different song, for what it's worth - The Corwood Rep finishes the song by singing it in the more "standard" version).

The album ends with the ten and a half minute blues-tinged "Only Lover" which takes us, again, "down the river to Madrid," and contains the strangest batch of lyrics on the album (he shares a tent with a cantaloupe at one point, and other lyrics include, "Like a kangaroo I’m only half doing what I do/Jesus stares at me from the wall/and I think I like your bosom/aw gone floatin’ down a river to Madrid"), yet it all culminates into a recognizable whole, and it's one of loss, building to a drum that sounds like a heart stopping. Then we get two quickies ("The Quinn Boys" would get a reprise on the next album), including manic drums on "One Minute" that thrash away while the vocals tell the listener to "follow the music." And, indeed, there has been much more to follow.

Track listing

  1. "I Passed by the Building" – 3:44
  2. "C F" – 2:13
  3. "Variant" – 1:52
  4. "Part II" – 1:54
  5. "Your Other Man" – 5:26
  6. "Long Way" – 1:01
  7. "Down at the Ball Park" – 2:31
  8. "Harmonica" – 5:32
  9. "House of the Rising Sun" – 4:34
  10. "Only Lover" – 10:25
  11. "Quinn Boys" – 2:03
  12. "One Minute" – 1:15

Reviews

This newer album contains more folk sounds and less of the dissonance Jandek is so well known for... Jandek’s angst-ridden vocals... filled with trials and tribulations... -- Art Black Away From the Pulsebeat

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