Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Marnie Stern - "Transformer" (Plus: "Transformer" Video)

Download: Marnie Stern - "Transformer"

By perfectly bridging the considerable gap between 1984-era Van Halen and Husker Du circa 1984, Marnie Stern's "Transformer" sees the common ground between both bands: explosive, cathartic, sing-along choruses. Or, to put it another way, they both can kick some serious ass.

Stern's a guitar virtuoso, so it would seem natural that she open a tune with her fret-tapping prowess. But instead of launching into schoolboy fantasies, Stern takes the opportunity to craft introspective lyrics about frustration and personal identity. Under a pummeling double-bass drumline that would make Alex Van Halen smile, Stern rails against personal complacency. "How can I be all these things to you?" goes the first line, with a smattering of raw guitar that would make Bob Mould smile providing the soundtrack for the narrator's existential crisis. (Sorry about the repetitive lines, but there's a lot here that will make a lot of people smile).

Even though there's self-doubt in the lyrics, the music is anything but doubtful. With an energetic, breathless arrangement and skillful songcraft, Marnie Stern has proven the notion that virtuosos can't write imaginative songs by writing one of the best songs of the year. Even though the song was premiered back in August, Stern's publicity people have released it to promote the excellent This is It... album, which will be released next week. Listen to "Transformer", and watch the video, at the top of the post.

Marnie Stern MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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