Words by Alex Napoliello
Originally recorded in the late 2000’s, Dark Night of the Soul found its official release in early July of this year after label disputes with EMI were settled. The album’s main contributor, however, was not alive to see his final masterpiece hit record store shelves. Sparklehorse frontman, Mark Linkous teamed up with Danger Mouse, and a slew of rock’s most noted musicians, to create this 13-track super album. Linkous committed suicide on March 6, 2010.
A whirlwind of dark, mysterious and depressing emotions, Dark Night of the Soul proves yet again why Danger Mouse continues to keep rock n’ roll fresh. But it’s not Danger Mouse who steals the show in this outing – he takes a back seat, allowing each collaborator to shine through on each track.
Black Francis AKA Frank Black of the Pixies takes a trip down memory lane with his 90’s grunge ballad “Angel’s Harp.” Similarly, Iggy Pop’s rugged, rebellious attitude leads the track “Pain” as he sings about Jesus Christ and his struggles.
However, Dark Night also shows off a softer side. Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle bites off a chunk of his 90’s pop endeavor and throws it into the mix on “Jaykub” and “Every time I’m with You.” Meanwhile, Julian Casablancas‘ “Little Girl” follows the same structure as a late Beatles song, complete with a sharp George Harrison-like guitar solo.
The album also finds a way to incorporate an experimental feel to it with “Revenge”, collaboration with The Flaming Lips. Likewise, filmmaker David Lynch (Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet) plucks his surreal style of writing from the screen and dumps it on “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It) and “Dark Night of the Soul.”
Although each track on the album features a different collaborator, Mark Linkous receives writing credit on each track, and his manic, pain-suffering lifestyle finds a way to peak through on each song. Even the pop tracks display a hint of darkness, which is fitting for an album whose title is a Christian metaphor for a phase in a person’s spiritual life, marked by a feeling of loneliness and desolation.
Danger Mouse’s most recent project, Broken Bells, is currently on tour supporting their debut full-length – another feature on the Danger Mouse resume. So maybe it’s no surprise that James Mercer makes his way into the credits on “Insane Lullaby,” the lost Broken Bell’s B-side. But the real question on my mind, and I’m sure is on yours, is what’s next for Danger Mouse? So far he hasn’t let us down yet, and for some strange reason, I feel that this is only the beginning.
“Dark Night of the Soul”
© June 19th, 2010
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