John Darnielle’s right-hand dominating the masochistic six-strings that sing orgasmic screams of his own planning. This is what has gotten Darnielle noticed, his jagged indelible poeticism of raw strength and energy and release, coming out in his less-than perfect voice articulated by incomparably apt lyrics, punctuated by solid guitar bangs. This command of the music has commanded all of the feeling feelings, feelings of anger, fear, and despair, out of Darnielle’s thousands of fans, domineering over their emotions, throwing them about, but they enjoy the ride. With Darnielle’s newest work, Get Lonely, the ride has come to a sudden slow, the jerk at the end of the roller coaster, and there is a patient crawl into the loading station where all of the riders’ introspective thoughts about how they felt over that bunny hill or at the top of the loop voice themselves.
Get Lonely is a jerk, but longtime fans will not be taken aback. Any who have come to know Darnielle for his, above all, accurate lyricism, his first-person accounts of too many events for one man to remember, if not experience for himself, will not abandon him because there is not the ravaging grit of aged love seen in “No Children.” Get Lonely does not ravish the listener like previous albums. It is submissive, matching its subject matter. Get Lonely doesn’t describe the pain of being lonely, doesn’t go into the incredible woe that surely everyone has heard at one point and then feel because that is how they have learned to be lonely, from what they’ve heard, but tells the story of being lonely and all of the details that are overshadowed for the simple, all-encompassing, and far too relatable ditching of the significant other. Get Lonely is a resigned man’s tale, telling the world what he sees only through the microphone of his own vocal chords that are too shy to wail out in pain. The soft-spoken words are not preempted with overbearing feelings that squeak the larynx because the coarse times have worn them out, but can tell, in language plain, what its like.
Get Lonely, in addition to being the title, may in fact be a command. Darnielle’s lyrics penetrate to a feeling that has been glossed over with tears, blood of broken-hearts, and the happy ending of romantic comedies that fails to recognize that loneliness is not summoned at times when that special someone decides their life is more important than their boyfriend right now, but exists everyday for some people, in all of the minutiae of life that seem too abstract to mean anything. These invisible coats have tried to shun loneliness away from life, put it in a cage, and let it out only when we really need the company, but even loneliness gets lonely. Get Lonely. Something might happen.
Okkervil River – Down the River of Golden Dreams
John Vanderslice – Pixel Revolt
Iron & Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle