DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, THE BIG TO-DO
Don’t think of this so much as a review of The Big To-Do, but more like the stuff I would keep saying as you tried to listen to the album, but without me spraying cheap beer on the side of your face as I constantly interupt the music.
If you want a review, here: Excellent. Expertly played. Masterfully crafted. Perfectly engineered. Epic. Triumphant. Sad. Beautiful. A bold confirmation by a band on the precipice of legendary Rock n Roll status. Five stars. Ten out of ten random objects shaded red. 100 vaguely defined points.
Now, here’s what I would drunkenly yell about each song on the The Big To-Do, as if you somehow couldn’t form your own opinion…
Daddy Learned to Fly These lyrics are breaking my damn heart, but musically it rocks so hard that I want to hoist a can of beer in the air, lean back, let out a cathartic “yeeeeeoooooooww,” and then jump up and down. Those feelings kind of seem contradictory, but really, it probably wouldn’t be too far-fetched to anthropologically liken it to something apes or Irish people do to release emotion.
The Fourth Night of my Drinking This isn’t a party anthem about you and your bro’s spring breakin’ at Senor Frogs, slamming Jello shots and grabbing flashed titties on semi-unconscious sorority girls. No, this is a song about four nights of personal ruin that reek from the stench of metabolized alcohol, burst blood vessels, and death, but somehow it still makes you cheer for the degenerate inside each of us. That’s not easy to do.
Birthday Boy A three and a half minutes of hooker’s life never felt so real.
Drag the Lake Charlie This song is so amazing, I don’t even have words for it. I love it. Yeah, I do love it so much that I should marry it. Hell, I’d even marry it in the Church if that would make its parents happy. I want this song inside me. Too much? No. It’s that good.
The Wig He Made Her Wear This is song based on the trial of a woman who killed her Preacher husband because he made her do slutty and sinful things. Even Tennessee Williams’ ghost just raised an eyebrow, daintily put a hand over his mouth, and dryly gasped “Oh my.”
You Got Another Shonna’s first song on the album pours out more heartbreak and pain than anything else on here, and it doesn’t even involve murder or a fatal acrobatic disaster, per se. This song would be great if it was just Shonna and the piano, but once you throw in the sonic-scape filled by Gonzalez’s keyboards and Neff’s pedal steel, tied together with Brad’s deep pocket drumming, it’s so amazing that it kind of makes me feel bad for other bands.
This Fucking Job Song of the year.
Get Downtown [We both sit silently and stare at the speakers, eyes bugging out and mouth agape, with a look on our faces that says “holy shit, I think they just discovered the absolutely, perfect sound for a Cooley song.” The song ends. We both reach to play it again, almost in disbelief].
After the Scene Dies This song will make everyone who has ever been in a band slap themselves on the forehead and say, “Damn. That’s the song I always wanted to write, but couldn’t.”
(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So I’d trade three favors to the mafia for an album full of songs like this.
Santa Fe I hope she was waiting for him there in Santa Fe. I really do.
The Flying WallendasI never knew my life needed a song about a famous high-wire, acrobatic family that ultimately developed a small habit of falling to their death, but it did. Very much so.
Eyes Like Glue What’s this salty wet stuff forming around my eyes and dripping down my cheeks? It’s like my face is leaking… oh damn. Cooley got me.