Just now, my iTunes "Party Shuffle" – aw shit yeah it's always a party when i'm sitting perfectly still in an ergonomic office chair with my laptop in front of me – decided that The Fiery Furnaces' ten-minute and 25 second long song, "Quay Cur," was the perfect way to keep the party pumping.
It made me realize that, almost a full year after I purchased the Fiery Furnaces album, Blueberry Boat, with great anticipation, I'm still mad at them for making such a dense, impossible and pleasure-less follow-up to their exciting debut. Fuck them and their seven-part songs about dogs and fruit and whatever the fuck they're talking about. People have told me their most recent EP is far more accessible and entertaining but, unless each copy of it comes with a hand-written apology note, I don't want it. Whenever a track from Blueberry Boat rears its ugly geometric head on some shuffled playlist, I feel like I'm hearing the definitive argument argument against my particular tastes in music. I am reluctant ever again recommend a record – like say, for instance, the new Stars album, Set Yourself on Fire (which is so excellent even if each successive listening makes me seven percent more gay) – for fear that someone will pounce on me with, "Oh? Is it as good as 'Chief Inspector Blancheflower,' you asshole? You still need to answer for that one!!"
Thanks, Fiery Furnaces. Now put down your antique floozophone or whatever and pick up some AMERICAN instruments, you terrorists.
[post-script: someone emailed me about this post, and voiced some disagreement. i'm perfectly open to that, of course. she also mentioned some inflammatory article on the Pitchfork Media, criticizing people for hating Blueberry Boat, and claiming anyone who hated them just wasn't "getting it." i do like Pitchfork, generally, but hearing that made me a little sad. first of all, if we all listened to everything Pitchfork told us, without challenging it, we'd all own a copy of the new album by Shining, and that would be extremely unfortunate. also, i have a hard time swallowing the argument that in 10 years Blueberry Boat will be an album we'll put on again and marvel at how amazing it is. i reserve my "ten years later" listens for nostalgia-assisted moments; not to impress/bore my new girlfriend. Blueberry Boat is, to me, a semi-interesting failure. a lot of interesting ideas and strong musicianship squandered on twelve-part psychedelic wanderings. people sometimes talk about the importance of albums like lou reed's Metal Machine Music but, you know what? i have listened to it once, and would only play it a second time on a dare, or as part of a Fear Factor music challenge. Blueberry Boat is like that to me.]