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Review: Jandek- The Humility Of Pain

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The most unlistenable and underrated album of the catalogue. Detuned high pitches crash into each other, ratting your fillings and seeking out the base of your spine as Jandek howls in a drunken slur about how the listener understands the humility of pain. You know how people’s hometown accents come out after a few cocktails? The cocktails have produced a hell of a drawl.

Despite the agony of listening to this record (the one that I burn and give to friends who want an introduction to the man – start ‘em off with the best shit first), the lyrical content almost feels like a self-help book, like Jandek is trying to affirm that he’s on the right path and doing the right things for himself. For the first five, anyway, before he starts singing to somebody in the second person- perhaps the listener, perhaps some woman – about how he wants to share his life and doesn’t want to discuss his life.


And it’s not one of those instances where he’s referring to himself as ‘you,’ because in the songs where he says ‘you’ a lot he’s also referring to himself as ‘I’. He’s singing to someone. But, you know, at the beginning he was singing to himself, presumably. Sonically brutal, lyrically muddled- everything you could ask for in an album from our favorite enigma. I’ll say it again: massively underrated.

(And yeah, I’ll be at the Austin and New Orleans shows- in the case of the former, I’ll be the asshole wearing the Jandek shirt. Say hello!)

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About Mike Fournier

  • hurrah! good work, Mike. i been meanin to write an In-Depth Critique of the Jandek On Corwood documentary. what wonderfully unique horrors he grabs from out those detuned strings.

  • …and then we need the Aaron McMullen covers Jandek record.

    oh yea!!!!!

  • ha! thats the LAST thing the world needs. although im thinkin of doin a Machine Head number for the next one…

  • now THAT is a scary thought.