Saturday, December 15, 2012

13. Damien Jurado - Maraqopa (Secretly Canadian)

Damien Jurado’s latest is a fantastic maze. As far as I can tell, Maraqopa is an imagined word, chosen perhaps for its aesthetic value or its auditory quality. That it bears a resemblance to the name of the Arizona county overseen by noted Latinophobe/”America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio is telling; that the term “Maricopa,” as it relates to said county and its American Indian namesake, is a bastardization of the Spanish word for “butterfly” — all these things are pertinent.

“Turn it around, you found that they were all wrong/ All you had heard were ghosts of the words in a song,” Jurado sings in Maraqopa opener “Nothing is the News.” The loosest song in Jurado’s catalog by far, “News” is psych-sick, desert-worn, the sound of a hard and lonesome cowboy after dark. Fifteen years into his career, Jurado is still obsessed with how we fit into our own lives and one another’s, or how we abjectly and repeatedly fail to do so.

But his tune has changed, literally. Jurado’s creative trajectory over the last few years has been one of steep upward movement. 2010’s Saint Bartlett was full of unexpectedly fresh moments from a guy whose songwriting had grown stagnant. Although captivating, it was still laden with some familiar trappings — doubt, self-pity, despair. In contrast, Maraqopa is a shooting star, an album bursting with presence of mind, a testimony to emotional rebirth buoyed by recurring themes of freedom and transcendence. “All of us light/ All of us free,” Jurado wails at the close of “Life Away from the Garden.” The title track features a similarly simple refrain: “We are free.”

via TinyMixTapes (read the rest there) 

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