Thao with the Get Down Stay Down “Know Better Learn Faster”

By One Track Mind on Friday, September 11th, 2009  |  4,759 views

Alt-Folk, Indie-Pop

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down “Know Better Learn Faster” Thao with the Get Down Stay Down “Know Better Learn Faster”

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In 2008, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down scored what was arguably the best album on a very good label (Olympia, Washington’s Kill Rock Stars) with We Brave Bee Stings and All. Thao Nguyen’s second full-length effort was a breakthrough which introduced her poignant lyricism and Chan Marshall-like vocal charms to the masses, paving the way for well-deserved critical and public success. Now she and her longtime band are getting ready to release Know Better Learn Faster, their third LP, on October 13th; it proves that her accomplishments (as well as her disdain for punctuation) are no mere flukes.

Beginning with a beat provided by shakers and occasional mumbles from a droopy slide guitar, the title track begins modestly, setting the stage for Nguyen’s breathy singing. She sings “But I need you to be / Better than me / And you need me to do / Better than you” as strings begin to perk up in the background, and by the time she’s done with the line, “Know Better Learn Faster” is at a full gallop. Nguyen has posed the song title as an ironic statement–that one can never learn faster, that once you know better, it’s already too late–and this track encapsulates this playful lament in musical terms rather nicely. The lyrical tones are echoed in the whimsical strings, which slide frantically up and down their scales, as well as in the mirth of Nguyen’s guitar and Willis Thompson’s ramshackle percussion.

“Know Better Learn Faster” is a beautiful song that isn’t burdened by being pretty, a poem that knows how to have fun. Thao with the Get Down Stay Down have crafted another love letter to the world; let’s hope it is as well received as it should be.

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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!!! (61 votes, average: 8.49 out of 10)


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Em Says:

    Builds excitement for the upcoming release!

  2. Shane L. Says:

    I was a little disappointed: Sounded flat compared to their usual dynamic pop. Gave it a ‘Meh.’

  3. jq Says:

    whew, can’t wait for the full length.

    The arrangement is majestic. Thao and band sounds like they’re ready to take on the world.

  4. tclopetfan Says:

    i first heard her when she did npr’s “tiny desk concert” podcast (, but that was solo. the full band adds necessary layers to the music and accentuates her voice reeeeal well.

  5. Reflector Says:

    I can’t believe Shane didn’t like this.

  6. Jennifer Kincaid Says:

    I checked out this song on a whim when looking through the recent archives. I have fallen in love with this band…I love their sound…something that seems lazy and meandering about her voice and jangly about the music and it all adds up to perfect for me.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Thao and Mirah “Eleven (feat. tUnE-YarDs)”  |  One Track Mind: free, legal MP3 downloads Says:

    […] its core, “Eleven” revolves around its innovative vocals. The song’s three vocalists, Thao Nguyen, Mirah, and tUnE-YarDs sing in unision: “Love is love / Don’t ever go away.” The group vocals […]