After 40 or so years of following pop music my attention has finally waned (only so many hours in the day and there’s so much Afro-Cuban stuff out there, and African funk, while finding a footing in Western Classical takes real effort, etc.). So I don’t think I’ve ever heard a note of Katie Crutchfield’s oeuvre and while she may well be, ‘one of rock’s best and most vital songwriters’ none of the lyrics included above show even a molecule of distinction — they could all be outtakes from a lonely hearts column.
The writer mentions Robert Pollard as an influence but the included lyrics, lack even an iota of the surreal distinction that make so much of Pollard’s writing immediately recognizable. For example:
Push me now beyond the bounds
Of healing hands and thorny crowns
And all the sadness it implies
I’ve tasted with my own two eyes
And as the cattle rack was cleaned
The floor was brightly stained
And larger though we grew in size
Not a thing was gained
But fate has so ordained
Is a far cry from the banality of: ‘I’ll fish for compliments, and I’ll drink until I’m happy/And wonder what you’re doing, but I won’t call.’
Of course, it’s a disservice to expect lyrics to stand on their own. Much of classic-period Dylan reads like overwrought poetry from a college sophomore (back when college sophomores still wrote poetry). Heard in their context, however, the lines become powerful.
But if the quoted Crutchfield lyrics don’t have any bearing on the quality of the songs, than the writer is doing a disservice by including them. Nothing I read above made me think, ‘Hmm…interesting.’ Quite the contrary.