87.) Cursive - The Ugly Organ (2003)
I've spent a lot of time thinking I'm against the idea of concept records only to realize that we're only fourteen records into this thing and this is the third concept record...unbelievable.
I guess I'm not against them after all.
I like Cursive. Of all the self-important, melodramatic, "woe is me bands" I think they're my favorite. I'll tell you this, disc for disc, I like them better than Bright Eyes. There you have it.
The Ugly Organ is my favorite Cursive record and I think it's probably because it was my first Cursive. I know that Domestica tends to get most people's votes but truth be told that's not even my second favorite Cursive record (which, if you're interested, is actually their latest Mama, I'm Swolen).
Before I move on I want to discuss the term "emo". Emo is a stupid fucking label that essentially means nothing. It's basically any music wherein the lead singer is male and shows emotion? I think. I guess the music has to be fast? But then Pinkerton is almost always referred to as one of the premier emo records. I just don't get it. Cursive are often called emo as are bands like the All American Rejects (who suck) and Fall Out Boy (who don't, but they're simply a pop band), so I refuse to use the term.
Okay. Back to one.
I like The Ugly Organ for a lot of reasons. The first being - it's ballsy. For all the stupid talk of Cursive being an emo band, I think The Ugly Organ is quite simply one of this generations great punk rock records. Sure, it's not punk rock in the traditional sense which (duh) is what makes it punk rock.
I also like The Ugly Organ because I didn't like it at first. As a matter of fact, I hated it. I thought it was just self indulgent meta bullshit. I hated it for the same reason I hated Dave Eggers at the time. I didn't want to care about these people and their lives. Shut up! But then, for some reason I did. Almost inexplicably. A switch went off and here we are. The Ugly Organ, I came to realize, was actually a compelling journey and for all it's navel gazing there was a story in there that I could relate to, that anyone could relate to really.
Looking back I don't necessarily think The Ugly Organ is all that autobiographical (especially after hearing Domestica - released first, but heard by me after). It's peppered in here and there, but with great success. And so what if it's a little self absorbed. Aren't we all?
Posted by Pat Driscoll