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Review: Mark Kozelek – Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek has become a fairly restless artist. Knocking out many albums over a short period of time, he’s showing few signs of slowing down. Mark Kozelek is another album that he has had involvement. Therefore, it is another album of his music that shows that he does not, for the time being, intend to slow down.

Once more Mark Kozelek is “talking” more than he is “singing”. Mark Kozelek sees him moving closer toward spoken word. He talks about things he experiences. His lyrics are as direct and matter-of-fact as they were before he became to heavily embrace his current vocal explorations. However, they now almost entirely lack the smooth poetic cadence that Mark Kozelek once employed.

There’s a simplicity to the words that is appreciable but Mark Kozelek leans far too heavily on the verbose. Everything that can take less words instead takes a long time to be said as he talks over everything as much as possible. This makes the songs more conversational and distinctly his. This also leads to the songs having a great deal of bloat. The words are far less effective and most of it tends to blur and wash over you.

The lyrics seem to have become the main focus of Mark Kozelek’s songs. On Mark Kozelek the instruments take a backseat and sound like backing music for him to talk over. The music is nice enough and works well as an accompaniment. However, most anything that is not vocals sounds like it was written for the vocals. That’s not to say that the instrumentation is flat. Some melodies are quite pretty and tender. Usually they do well to set the mood. However, there’s little to no substance to them. They’re decent, they work, but feel like an afterthought.

As easy as it is to criticize Mark Kozelek, there’s something endearing about the album. It is hard to recommend as most of it makes for a frustrating, tiring listen. However, there’s some really poignant and moving moments. There is also some funny moments that help break the monotony. Mark Kozelek seems to be searching for something. He rambles quite a bit and expresses things in more time than necessary. There comes a point in each song where the song feels like it should end. Instead of ending, the songs keep on going. However, the whole thing feels really human in a way that a lot of albums do not. Perhaps the album is highly possessed of ego, but it sounds honest.

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