September 9, 2010

Song Review: Marnie Stern's "Transparency Is the New Mystery"

This October, NYC guitar virtuoso Marnie Stern will be back with her latest studio album since her acclaimed 2008 sophomore effort, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That (Luckily for her fans, her new release will be self-titled.) Thus far in her short career, Stern has brought a lot to the table since making her official arrival onto the scene. She owns some of the best technical guitar skills by not only a female musician, but any musician, period. What separates Stern from the rest of the purists out there who are a bit too attentive to scales, time signature and other challenging picking mechanisms is that Stern involves a great deal of reckless noise influence in her music. After two albums of proving herself to be the female answer to erratically loud bands like Lightning Bolt, Hella and Parts & Labor, her song "Transparency Is the New Mystery" finds the songstress easing into a beautiful cohesiveness that still maintains much of her unique character. Above all, "Transparency Is the New Mystery" is one of the year's best love songs. In her lyrics, we hear Marnie play the role of a self-doubting, out of luck girl pining away at the guy she let get away. Interestingly enough, her vocals in conjunction with the track's chorus ("Can you tell you're like me. I'm too late. You've got her. It's not enough... I'm not enough...") is reminiscent to the style of heartbreak Karen O put on display during the Yeah Yeah Yeah's 2003 breakthrough, "Maps." Amid all this deprecation, bombastic drumming explode and settle along the way as knife-sharp guitars and electronics cut in between. It's as if Stern has finally found a happy medium between accessibility and eccentricity. Marnie Stern appears to be getting more emotionally indebted with her songwriting here on "Transparency Is the New Mystery." She's incorporating more personality into her music rather than just flailing at guitar and electronic pedals. While it isn't as loud and boisterous as anything we've heard on her previous efforts, the pay off is that Marnie Stern may very well be arriving at some of her best all-around song writing to date.

Marnie Stern - "Transparency Is The New Mystery"

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