Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks “Tigers”

By Emily Becker on Monday, July 25th, 2011  |  1,094 views

Indie Rock

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks “Tigers” Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks “Tigers”

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“I caught you streaking in your Birkenstocks / A scary thought in the 2K,” begins “Tigers,” the first track from Mirror Traffic, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks’ fifth (or possibly fourth or third depending on how you count such things) full-length, which Matador Records will release on August 23, 2011.

Malkmus continues in his trademark croon, “Change is all we need to improve.” I’m going to have to disagree with you here, Stephen. “Tigers” delights precisely because it serves up Malkmus in his purest form. With vocal inflections that careen like light off a rearview mirror, his style is recognizable immediately.

“Tigers” would be right at home on Brighten the Corners. Should we abandon Malkmus for not mixing it up more? He doesn’t think so. He beats doubters to the punch singing, “Trust me because / I’m worth hating,” a line he delivers with customary Malkmusian self-absorption.

Malkmus is a singular genius who has a good thing going. Why mess with it? Even after Malkmus enlisted Beck (another singular genius) to produce Mirror Traffic, “Tigers” doesn’t sound the tiniest bit like anyone but Stockton’s favorite son (sorry, Spiral).

As Malkmus has aged he has conceded to let his lyrics tell the occasional story. (Search for linear storytelling in “Summer Babe” or “Gold Soundz” all you like, but it isn’t there.) It’s a rather large step toward convention from a songwriter so intentionally cryptic that he used to be identified only as “S.M.”

Lyrically, “Tigers” represents another tiny chink in Malkmus’ armor of inscrutability and fans are wise to peer in. The song stands poised to join Jicks-era classics like “Jenny and the Ess-Dog” and “Jo-Jo’s Jacket.”

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Rate It Here:  My ears, they bleed!Never againMehNot my thangOne listen is enoughGood, not greatWorth a listenPlaylist-worthyThis my jam!Songasm!!! (18 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Rbt. B. Rutherford Says:

    “vocal inflections that careen like light off a rearview mirror”. Delicious.