Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'd Buy Anything By...Lisa Germano

Yes, it's true, I WOULD buy anything by Lisa Germano...

...but the funny thing is that I don't like her albums very much. I think that she is incredibly cool, and I love the whole idea of her music...but I rarely ever enjoy more than a few songs on each album (though the songs I DO enjoy are ones that I love).

She's a genius. I really get a sense that she's a genius. She can't sing particularly well. Her music is deliberately shoddy and always sounds as though it's about to fall apart. Her songwriting is personal and sometimes painfully fragile. Her enunciation sometimes has a distinctive and endearing "-yawh" sound at the end of sentences that I can't quite place. Her cover art is dreamy in that "4AD" way and she has worked with one of my favourite producers (Malcolm Burn), and whenever I pull out one of her albums to give it another listen...

...I find myself getting slightly bored and annoyed. I don't know what it is. I can't explain this loyalty.

Despite her prominence as fiddle-sawer for John Cougar Mellencamp, her real breakthrough was with this typically Germano-ish -- but slightly more produced than usual -- song called "You Make Me Want to Wear Dresses."

She didn't last long on a major label and I don't think she makes videos anymore, but she seems to tour relentlessly with very minimalistic shows in small venues. I don't seek out Germano information, but whenever I see another CD I snap it up...and there we go again.

So she belongs in the "I'd Buy Anything" category but I don't really know why, and I'm not sure why anybody should or shouldn't explore her music. But I DO recommend her "Geek the Girl" and "Excerpts from a Love Circus" albums as unusually attention-grabbing. I also hear that her collaboration with Giant Sand (under the name "OP8") was very good, but I've never found a copy.


Anonymous said...

Just in case, you have forgotten all about this. :)

Anonymous said...

I hate evaluating music.

A) Because I realized 99% of people "into" music are just as clueless about is as I am. Yet many still seek validation from the superiority of their tastes.

B)With respect to "western" music, I, like lots of people actually buy into the "image" rather than the substance. I buy into the image. Which is why, while for instance REM is surely greater, I am more likely to prefer Aerosmith. :)

Adam Thornton said...

For me, the image is usually PART of the substance -- like, knowing the mythology of a band helps to enhance their music -- but I don't think I've ever liked a band entirely because of their image...

...except maybe Lisa Germano. When I buy her music I feel like I'm supporting a brilliant person, and I usually get a collection of great lyrics, and the artwork is always great.

So in that case, yes, I may be involved in the image.

As for the cats...Sarah Brightman's "Macavity the Mystery Cat" is one I perform now and has a nice slinky feel.