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Tim Foljahn: Fucking Love Songs Review

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Tim Foljahn: <i>Fucking Love Songs</i> Review

Tim Foljahn’s long career in the world we shorthand as “indie rock” has been a remarkable balance of sincerity, sarcasm and occasional bouts of despair. This is the guy, after all, who named an album of moody, rambling folk-pop tunes by his old band Two Dollar Guitar Weak Beats and Lame-Ass Rhymes.

So when you read the title of his latest solo album, imagine it being said with either a rueful chuckle or a shoulder-drooping sigh. And when you listen to the 10 songs on it, don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling or trying to wipe away a memory that his point-blank lyrics and spare arrangements stir up.

The mood of Fucking Love Songs leans heavily towards the ruminative and regretful. Many of the songs find Foljahn exploring the stray memories and still lingering wounds from a breakup (or several different breakups). If you’re not lucky enough to have avoided going through that misery, this one will thrum those latent or still fresh scars. You need only to listen to him croon “It’s not that I deny all the pretty things you said to me/I just don’t think it’s wise to mistake them for honesty” over the gentle swing of brushed drums and electric piano on “Thanks,” or recognize the quiet howl he injects into “Beast” after describing himself as “a monster…alone in the dark” to feel that ache again.

When he does speak of love’s highs, Foljahn does so using the metaphors of the natural world, a reflection of a flourishing relationship that feels ripe with possibility. He refers to himself as “long and lazy/high and crazy like a river in the rain,” urging his lovers to dive right in, or finds himself looking back at a certain “Garden Lady,” who he compares to “fruit…ripe and on the tree…growing sweeter all the time.” Like some of the best songwriters of the last 50 years, Foljahn’s uncluttered language serves to help the emotions he’s expressing resonate longer and deeper.

Another signifier of Foljahn’s career is how little he’s talked about when the discussion turns to great modern songwriters. At this point, unless the tide turns, he’ll best be remembered as a member of Sideboob, the fake band seen occasionally in Orange Is The New Black. Let this fine and heartfelt album be the fulcrum that pivots the spotlight on this outstanding musical talent.

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