Audiophilia, Thoughts

I Can’t Quit You: Flyleaf

It’s been a few weeks since my last I Can’t Quit you post.  Sorry about that, I think the joy at rediscovering Placebo shaded the rest of the entries with a little more disappointment than usual.  But, on to the next CD, Flyleaf’s self-titled debut.

Typically when I’m trying to figure out an angle to an ICQY post, I consider why I bought the CD & what factors have kept me from getting rid of it.  When Flyleaf hit it big with their single “All Around Me” in 2007, I had mostly healed from the scorching left years ago by Morgan Lander & “Brackish.”  Occasionally though, that fantastic burn would inspire sympathy pains, which would lead me to try other metal bands with growling female singers: Tapping the Vein, Otep, Flyleaf.  Even my infatuation with theStart’s Aimee Echo owes some debt to my love for Morgan Lander.  So when I saw the video for Flyleaf’s “All Around Me,”  I thought, Well, I’ll try it, despite the VJ’s bored answer to another viewer’s emailed question, “Yes, the song is about Jesus.”

Listening to the CD now in 2012, I don’t really have many criticisms.  For a debut, Flyleaf is pretty solid.  Lacey Mosley uses her voice to great effect, sounding convincingly fierce, vulnerable, demanding, tortured and pleading with each song.  The lyrics walk the viably commercial line of being confessional & accessible to an audience of passionate listeners.  The vaguely Christian theme of the songs might irritate some people.  For example, some lyrics read “He knew each tear before it came/Soon He will perforate the fabric of the peaceful by and by” or “Perfect in weakness/I’m only perfect in just your strength alone.”  But, most of the songs aren’t so overt that you can ignore the influence.

But if “All Around Me” is really about Christ, then the Hot for Jesus lyrics actually become pretty funny.  Seriously: “My tongue dances behind my lips for you”?  Those are words that would make St. Theresa of Avila territorial.

The thing that actually strikes me the most about the CD is that you could use it as an example of how desperate the recording industry is to corner the market of their product on multiple levels.  Flyleaf is a quick CD.  The songs are not terribly long, with most songs barely over 3 minutes.  The entire CD is about 45 minutes.  But the label is determined to get you, the listener, hooked.  The arty lyrics booklet unfolds into a poster of the band.  (My copy is accidentally or purposefully saturated with some. . . strange scent.)  Half of the songs are redone acoustically, so if you don’t like one version you can try another.  There’s also a bonus DVD with three music videos AND don’t forget the blow-in card that let’s you know how you can download the ringtone for all 16 songs!

I think this is the real reason I’ve never gotten rid of the CD.  I feel bad because even though this deluxe version of the CD is designed to sell, sell, sell, it also represents someone’s work.  Granted, a very methodical, market-tested, statistically-designed-for-maximum-sales template, but a measure of concentrated effort no less.  Even though my inner punk screams for me to ditch this mass-marketed crap, my inner square (who daily sits in a windowless cubical & answers phone calls from enraged customers) quietly sympathizes with the members of the marketing team who spent time picking out an “edgy” color scheme, designing & ordering tons of blow-in cards & putting the CD package together.  It sucks when you work on something just for it to be ignored or thrown away, mainly because you won’t get that time & energy back.

So, I’ll have my guilt trip & then pick myself back up because 5 years of ignoring said CD is enough of my time spent.  So, Flyleaf, I appreciate the effort & I certainly hope that your own personal band of cheerleaders keeps you company, because I don’t think we’re BFF compatible.  Morgan Lander & her nail-gun lyrics will hold me 4eva.


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