Friday, July 21, 2006
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (a.k.a. Will Oldham) gets a bad rap as a depressing dude. OK, so that is sorta true. But his songs have more depth and meaning to just pin the easy label "depressing" on them. His 1999 album I See a Darkness is one of my favorite albums ever, but many people I know hear a dark, spacious album about death and don't go any further. There is an uplift to his voice and his guitar that goes unnoticed on that album.
He has a new album coming out on September 19 called Cursed Sleep. I hate ruining things, so I have only listened to two songs from the album, but they make me think this could be a great one. Both songs are extremely different from anything on I See a Darkness.
Cursed Sleep - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
So this is Bonnie doing his best Sufjan impersonation. Folk Song + String flourishes = most stuff on Come On Feel The Illinois. This is a well produced song though, almost too much so. But Bonnie adds the right amount of grandeur to his voice for this song that justifies the gloss.
The Signifying Wolf - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
So one of the biggest reasons why I am anticipating this album is I am looking forward to seeing how these two songs I have posted can co-exist on the same album. The first one is a practice in highly produced folk, while this song is a rough little folk boogie. The rhythm section here bubbles along with Bonnie sounding downright evil over top of it. The song eventually builds to a climax with what sounds like a party of beasts, ghosts, scientologists, and every other scary thing imaginable having a party in hell, with Bonnie as the in-house band. This is the scariest song I have heard since I was a kid listening to Vincent Price's goth-rap in MJ's Thriller.
P.S. For those of you keeping track (probably no one), this brings my 2006 most anticipated albums list to 3, including this one and the Junior Boys (Thom's already came out). A post about the Mountain Goats new one is looming though.