This sleeve from Fin Records, Red Jacket Mine is perfect foreshadowing for the sort of '80s Graham Parsons, Steely Dan direction this one is headed. The blindingly slick, warm organ, crisp metal strum...it's a kind of Elvis Costello poppy, clean perfection. A really careful style of songwriting, pouring over the right + k of EQ on a single note. It's that side of song craft that can happen at home, you've got the technology to sit around and play with every minute detail...you'd think we'd be smack in the middle of a resurgence of this kind of sound, but maybe we're just in that rejection period of slick production again, and we'll have to wait until it's nostalgic again.
It's completely alien, I can't even figure out how this minimal gated construction adds up immediately to this groovy late '70s sound, picked apart it can't possibly add up to this. They were going as far as possible with the perfect sound back then, and RJM has re-nailed this period in such a bizarre way.
The lyric is about suicide, so I'd have to assume he knows exactly what he's doing putting a demented twist into this ultra commercial pop sound. It sort of makes me put this into a Ween context, and that's when it starts to get genius. I know he's got to have that kind of sense of humor. It's a little too perfect. To the point where you almost expect that '50's barbecue-ing dad to be a serial killer on the weekends. The repression is spot on and killing me.
A reverse masked ditty at the end of this one for the kids to try to play backwards...extra weird...it's where the bodies were buried.
"Rosy Days" on the B-Side, get's slicky sick into a motown backbeat, I think it's that organ sound that goes to that Elvis Costello place? It's all of these elements really, the abrupt melodic changes, the seamless smashing together of towering pop...you end up with glitter all over our face. It's not coming off.
This could be the way that Stephin Merritt says he loves cheesy pop music and is deliberately trying to create the most perfect pop song but claims to just keeps failing. Well Red Jacket Mine is succeeding to a crazy degree, in an almost obsessive Tom Waits kind of place...insanely authentic, doing it as good or better. Like Nick Kershaw? He's taken this joke to a razor degree. Keep adding blades. 6 have to be better than 5 right?
All the previous era's influence in a blender of pop composition.
The sleeve is just like that shitting all over America sleeve of Armed Forces. Look how ridiculous trends are. Look at them.
Oh you crazy seven inches.