Kurt Vile, “b’lieve i’m goin down…”
b’lieve i’m goin down…
Revolution isn’t such a radical word. Blazing cars doused, it can also mean simply turning in place, and the recent history of Kurt Vile shows us the value of acknowledging this definition. Vile’s twenty-first century post-folk formula was already gestating long before 2011’s enchantingly moody Smoke Ring for My Halo cut through the distortion, and it’s a testament to the madness of the artist that his method continues to ring true on b’lieve i’m goin down…. Vile’s ace in the hole is his idiosyncratic lyrical style and vocal delivery, grinding up influences with such apparent nonchalance that they may be rediscovered as his own; it’s easy to miss overt references to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” (“Pretty Pimpin”) and Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” (“Dust Bunnies”), largely because they don’t befront ol’ Kurt. In the hands of a lesser artist, such mammoth touchstones would bulge right through the mix. The illusion of looseness is present in Vile’s nearly slurred phrasing, although the precision of his finger-picking and attention to production value suggests he is nothing if not fully aware of where he is going. down…? Perhaps, when Vile’s time comes, but not so long as the table continues to turn.