One of the best front-to-back albums I’ve heard this year. It’s been late-night listening, whistle-while-I-work listening, cocktail-hour-with-in-laws listening… it’s both interesting and versatile, which isn’t a combination you find too often.
The other thing I love about Poison Season — and you might call this a contradiction, too — is how the songs convey a sense of place and an unreality at the same time.
“Times Square” definitely feels like a New York song, but the images don’t feel exclusive to New York, and Times Square ends up feeling more like an idea than a specific landmark. Still, whenever the song starts, I start thinking about Jay Z and Alicia Keys and how they performed at that one World Series game.
“Dream Lover” works the same way. The sax at the beginning screams “BRUUUUUUCE” and I can’t hear the song without thinking about New Jersey, but I’m pretty sure the song has nothing to do with Bruce or Jersey, and it even contains the words “some city” — like place doesn’t matter at all. Like you’re in a slow globe that just got turned upside down and shaken.
Somewhere along the way, I read on Dan Bejar’s Wikipedia page that he moved around a lot as a kid, and I don’t know whether that seeped into my experience before or after these impressions were formed. I’d like to think it’s the latter — it would mean Bejar managed to communicate something complex and autobiographical by showing rather than telling, which strikes me as a profound achievement. (And did I mention it’s great to listen to?)