Art is a powerful force to be reckoned with. There are paintings that can make us alter the way we think about war, sculptures that challenge our views on free speech and great works of architecture that can literally inspire us to go out and affect the world in ways we never would have otherwise. All art is valid, but there’s something particularly special about music. Music has this strange ability to evoke emotions in us that are from another world, and musicians are just the sage philosophers trying to break through to that world in hopes of harnessing its power for uses both good and evil. The evil half likes to use music as a means for capitalist gains, while the good half employs music’s divine capabilities to make the world a little better than it was beforehand. Jim Clements is committed to leaving a positive mark on the planet he calls home, and in his brand new record A Failure, he shares some of his most cerebral thoughts on life to date – all of which bear more humility, vitality and tangibility than anything else you’ll find in contemporary pop music this year.
Jim Clements doesn’t dress any part of his sonic profile down for the mainstream market in A Failure; if anything, he goes out of his way to make it as unrefined and temperamental as he possibly can. I consider this record to be his In Utero; his attempt to shed the little bit of established interest that had attached itself to his work in When The Saints Go by stripping his sound down to its bare bones. It’s a sumptuous listening experience, to say the least – we witness Clements rip through songs of contrition and unabashed catharsis equally, all the while reminding us why critics from Canada to the United Kingdom have dubbed him the voice of his generation. The music is riddled with an affectionate drawl that has become his trademark, but there’s a reserved intonation in the production that makes all of these songs feel so real and physically affecting.
Jim Clements is Raw, Unfiltered and Relentlessly Brooding
A Failure isn’t for the faint of heart, but to say that it’s anything other than the finest singer/songwriter LP that I’ve heard in quite some time would be a straight up lie. Even when it feels like he’s about slam head first into a brick wall in the album’s more self-centered moments, Clements has a magical way of making even the most personal of tracks relatable to us in some fashion. For as much as this is his record in every sense of the term, he’s written a plethora of material here that could be considered universally applicable to anyone who has ever lived a day of real life. I had a feeling that I would enjoy Clements’ new album when I first learned of its release this October, but I could have never guessed or imagined how taken aback its rousing set would leave me. This is a record for the ages.
Find more from Jim Clements HERE.
-review by Scott Carlito