I am not a fan of Guided by Voices because of their now mythical, rough-cut, non-sensical, lo-fi rock heroics: i.e. recording their music partly by necessity, partly for its angsty realism so it sounds like the underneath of an angry buzzsaw-table drowned among the weeds of a twisted British folk lyric. Instead Im a fan of the deeply morbid three-and-a-half-minute-long pop anthems that have surfaced on GBVs records since the bands 1994 release, Bee Thousand (on longtime home Matador). Basically, Ill take well-crafted pop brilliance over sonic devolution-revolution anytime.
That said, Do the Collapse features some of the best tunes Bob Pollard the drunken, Princelike figure who commands 95 percent of GBVs songwriting credits has churned out, though the cynic in me notices that this breakthrough comes on an album produced by the Cars Rick Ocasek and released on the un-Matador-like label TVT. But when a sell-out sounds this good, only the most spoiled indie-rocker could whine. More to the point, when it means that GBV finally jettisons the lions share of its rock-retro fetishes from wanna-be Beatles b-sides to REM necrophilia then theres hope that musical transcendence will win the day.
And it does. The singles are plentiful and the lyrics on such songs as "Hold On Hope" ("Well thats the chance we take/ to be always working/ reaching out for/ the hand that we cant see/ everybodys got a hold on hope/ its the last thing thats holding me") are simply beautiful. This may be GBVs version of a throwaway album all more or less straightforward and sonically pleasing but so what. The Cars never sounded this good.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.