Sad Reminders

An Unofficial Mark Kozelek Site

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#16 03-29-2008 1:26pm

From: Norway
Registered: 10-08-2005
Posts: 82

Re: April vs. Ghosts

You know what, the reason that I like April more, is that Ghosts sounded so detached to me. Detached lyrically (apart from some standout songs like Carry Me Ohio), and detached sound-wise. Ghosts was an album that sounded like it came from the great outdoors; its sound was the sound of great open plains and fields, and it sounded too perfect, in a way - perfection occurs when you take a step back and look at your work from different angles, when you detach yourself from your own creation. And perfection is dead boring, in my book.

April sounds like a record that was hidden under the bed and forgotten. Its the sound of great, mysterious mansions and cold bedrooms. Its a set of songs which sound like they came from the same place as songs like Medicine Bottle. Not musically, but in mood, in spiritual origin. And this origin, this place is where the songwriting of Mark Kozelek really seems to thrive to me; it doesn't belong with tales of legendary boxers out in the great, vast red plains, sand blowing everywhere and with the sun burning - they belong inside, behind drapes, with candles, in huge, sparsely decorated dark rooms. Rooms of isolation, nostalgia and deep, blue beauty.

This is the world was where Red House Painters came from, this is where April is from. Which is why I love it dearly. In fact, its my favorite MK record since Ocean Beach.

Last edited by mats (03-29-2008 1:28pm)


#17 03-29-2008 1:48pm

Registered: 11-17-2007
Posts: 22

Re: April vs. Ghosts

Here's my take after having heard these two albums extensively:

Both are definitely amazing albums but I just think Ghosts is more original. The songwriting is just more original and free-er on Ghosts, April is a consistently gorgeous album but there are definitely a lot of similar sounding songs/vibes throughout it and at times it gets a little boring, almost as if he made two songs out of one in the case of The Light/Tonight the Sky (not to mention the straight Neil Young sound of these two) and even Harper Road/Lucky Man to me are too similar sounding in their style. Though when April shines it definitely shines in the more unique songs that Mark wrote for it like Lost Verses, Unlit Hallway, Like the River, Moorestown.

Even though Ghosts lacks a bit of consistency in it's sound, I think it's the time period in which Mark wrote the best songs of his career like Carry Me Ohio, Duk Koo Kim, Glenn Tipton. Ghosts wins just by a little for me because it just sounds like it's got a little more heart and genuinity to the songs.


#18 03-29-2008 11:41pm

Registered: 03-29-2008
Posts: 10

Re: April vs. Ghosts

It's too soon for me to compare, since I'll have to live with "April" for a while, and give it some spins.

But, I will say, as a fan from the moment I heard "Grace Cathedral Park" in 1995 or so, "Ghosts" is in many ways my favorite of Mark's records, and hangs together really nicely. It's probably his most accessible record, I would say, because it has the feel of a "greatest hits" record, but, with all new songs, because it is representative of everything that he does musically, without simply seeming like a retread. (Another album that has that same feel--familiar, representative, and yet new--to me is Yo La Tengo's "I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One," for a comparison)

"Ghosts" retains all the classic RHP hallmarks, like the 10+ minute epic, in this case the neverending neo-psychedelic swirl of "Duk Koo Kim," wispy acoustic fragments like "Floating," and a breathtakingly sad but gorgeous and kind of catchy song like "Carry Me Ohio," which I'd guess is the song that drew many folks who are recent fans to Mark's work. So critics can't accuse him of being a one-trick pony, "Ghosts" is important because it also takes his craft a step further with a track like "Lily & Parrots," which is almost power-pop, and I have to say, is a favorite of mine, especially the rocking album version. The song works because Mark obviously has a love of classic rock, and thus, enjoys rocking, and that song rocks convincingly well. Having songs that mirror each other, the way that "Salvador" and "Pancho" bookend the record, reminds me of the Rollercoaster record (probably my other candidate for favorite Mark album), and the two versions of "Mistress." All in all, a classic, I'd say.


#19 03-30-2008 8:19am

Registered: 08-12-2007
Posts: 71

Re: April vs. Ghosts

I think April is a better record than Ghosts, but there isn't a song on April as good as Carry Me Ohio, and Gentle Moon is probably as good as Lost Verses.

(as I type this I am listening to the best Death Metal album ever made, The Sound of Perseverance by Death tongue)

can almost hear rollercoasters see sailboats in the sea
hear noise and screaming
weaving in and out of
happy music box sounds


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