Lost in Ohio is reissuing the 2012 indie pop classic, on limited edition pink & blue splatter vinyl. It has been expanded to include tracks from the Girls Who Look Like Me EP. It was mastered for vinyl by Christopher Colbert (Richard Swift, Pedro the Lion), with lacquers cut by Lex van Coeverden at The Vinyl Room.
The following essay is courtesy music journalist Jeff Milo:
You know where I’ve been, where I was, where I am, where I’m going…
I still remember the specific anticipation I felt for Blonde Album. The build-up, in my head, in the late summer of 2012, this follow-up to what had already been a head-spinning debut, coming from this charismatically scrappy, poetically plainspoken power trio with uncanny pop sensibilities, coming out of Ypsilanti with made-to-order minimalist indie-ballads that rarely exceeded 150 seconds and only needed a piano, a guitar, a drum kit and the most beguiling melodies ever to grace the seedy innards of a dive bar. And I already knew at least four of the songs that would be on its tracklist by heart from being front row for several live renditions of what were then “new songs…”
And now, here I am, a decade later, remembering that I already knew then, but perhaps had stored away in the basement of my brain inside a filing cabinet labeled exuberant exclamations from your more idealistic youth… …that this album is perfect, front to back.
A perfect 27 minutes of pop with evergreen lyrics addressing the all-too-relatable regrets of shortsighted recklessness in love and in life, combined with the profound endearment of hearing a vocalist whose intonation already makes her sound so effortlessly earnest in her vulnerability finding pristinely eloquent couplets to express that specific state of desperation that rides along the very thin line between a revelatory breakthrough or a total breakdown. But you never get weighed down by all the utterly poignant heartache because the propulsive drums, with dynamics down to a tee, switch superbly between soft brushes to eruptive stampedes, all while perfectly complimenting the pound of the piano; our accompanying guitar, meanwhile, bends its way into melodic phrases that are so bewitchingly catchy that you don’t know whether to grin or cry.
And before you know it, the song, any song, is over. So brief. So perfect.
And I don’t care whether anyone today, anyone who, ya know, wasn’t there…concludes that these are just the hyperbolic ramblings of an elder millennial nostalgic for a simpler time, or whether I come off sounding like some kool-aid drunkard recounting the fleeting vision of a comet in the sky; heck, I probably sound like that super-fan of Arrested Development or Firefly that you regret getting into a conversation with at the party because they just carry on about a pure perfection that left us wanting more. That was gone too soon.
But shit, maybe you can’t top this? And my blurting out that question isn’t referring to the reality that the band never released anything after Blonde Album and far be it from me to ever suggest that if they ever stepped up to the plate that they wouldn’t knock it out of the fucking park yet again…, I’m just saying that, as a listener, as a human being on the planet earth who listens to music, who is constantly listening to music, that I, myself, or possibly many others, couldn’t or shouldn’t downplay that statement, just as a singular revelation however subjective it might be… The revelation that a perfect album came into your life and substantially sweetened the “soundtrack” of that life, of your life.
Front to back. Perfect. Relentless. Brief. Fleeting.
An exhilarating and heart-wrenching half-hour full of confessions of warts-and-all honesty, recounting a very ID impulsiveness, yet often set to aerobic rhythms and charming melodies, making for an impossibly fun catharsis, a saccharine scab-picking, and often barbed with this appealing tone of defiance, a declaration of self-awareness that readily addresses (and, hell, even celebrates) one’s flaws, yet also tacitly implies that the opinions of others would never be something that could ever bring them down.
The narrator of these songs might not even be halfway close to fixing herself, but there’s just the right amount of DGAF energy coating her delivery and lyrical subtext that, combined with the sometimes-triumphant-feeling crescendos provided by the drums/guitars, strikes this complex tone of self-celebration, even in the face of sadness or loneliness or self-loathing. It’s fine to have a pity party, but this album limits them to two-minutes, and even then, it’s a pity party that always… ALWAYS feel uplifting by the end of the song. It’s that kinda shit that makes me proud, in this way, proud to call an album like this one a favorite… a perfect… a perfect album.
How did they do it? How did Leah do it, with these words and these spare arrangements…? How did Aaron know just what the song needed, from the softer touch to the more explosive fills? How did Ben know to keep things so measured, so tasteful, with barely a flourish from the guitar…
Again, you’re going to chock this all up to me going on a rant, but I’ll say it again–maybe this can’t be topped? Because Blonde Album is a result of everyone involved, even if it was primarily just three people, and even predominantly one, making the exact choices they did in that moment, in that exact moment of being an indie-band with an albeit modest amount of “buzz” that was declared to be “on the cusp” of…whatever…, that exact moment of being being smack-dab in the middle of your 20s when your innocence has evaporated but your daring hasn’t been drained, and you are ready to stop questioning yourself and speak your heart instead of speak your mind…To reside right there, in that moment, in front of a piano? And to come out of it with Blonde Album? Perfect.
And maybe that moment in time can’t, (won’t, or shouldn’t…) be replicated? Maybe we don’t need anything else from Lightning Love after that? Oh, but therein lies the sting…The sting of untold possibilities… The wonder, the hope, the wish that something like this could come back again?
Until it does, I’m going to replay this album for the 87th time.
- Just Friends
- I Know
- I’ll Never Love No One Else
- Orange Glow
- Bobby Thompson
- So Easy
- Our Love is All Gone
- When You Sleep (from Girls Who Look Like Me)
- Wake Up and Find Myself (from Girls Who Look Like Me)