Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Set Yourself On Fire

Even the title of the record sounds dramatic. Set yourself on fire is perhaps a line that the poetic would use on a lover or a significant other after they've done something horribly disappointing. But I would expect nothing less from Stars, the Canadian quartet that makes the Smiths sound comedic in comparison. Just about every song on Stars' third album seeps with unrestrained romanticism, lyrics that read like novellas set to an electronic pop soundtrack. In the song "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" (Set Yourself... rarely employs upbeat optimism), the narrator eloquently recounts the awkwardness of being "introduced" to an ex by a friend of friend ("God that was strange to see you again...Smiled and said 'yes I think we've met before'")and features one of the best zingers found in recent pop history ("We drove in silence across Point Champlain/And all of the time you thought I was sad/I was trying to remember your nameā€¦"). The song eventually ends with "I'm not sorry I met you/I'm not sorry it's over" but somehow you don't believe him.

Lead singer duties are split between the Torque Campbell and Amy Millan, who not only sing the songs but bring their lyrics to vibrant life by conveying seeminlgy authentic emotions just as great fiction writers do. Their soft, breathy voices perfectly complement one another, neither dominating nor upstaging the other's. But that's not to say that they can't properly convey rage or passion; In their most defiant song "He Lied About Death," which is an obvious assault of President Bush, Torq snarls "What gives you the right/ To f*** with our lives...I hope your drunken daughters are gay!" Spoken like a true liberal Canadian. A dramatic one, at that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Stars, you won't even believe. Them and Death Cab for Cutie (well... naturally) are some of my favorite bands. But really, if you liked Set Yourself On Fire, check out their older stuff. Heart is a bit on the poppy side (but the meanings are as hard as the rest of their songs) but Nightsongs is definatly my favorite by far. Going Going Gone is amazing, its meaning so simple yet so fearing. And Tonight (I know, the title is a bit clique) is simply beautiful. International Rock Star has really intriguing sound bites, and the vocals add to the overal chill of the song. Counting Stars on the Ceiling has a cold edge to it that I adore. Really, check that CD out. Let me know what you think at

7:16 PM  

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