Capacity (studio album) by Big Thief
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Big Thief bestography
The best album by Big Thief is Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You which is ranked number 823 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 2,198.
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Capacity track list
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This album is rated in the top 2% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 78.4/100, a mean average of 77.3/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 78.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 12.2.
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It seems every release from Lenker and Meek kind of resets my expectations and introduces something new to consider. This second Big Thief album is, on its face, perhaps a similar experience to Masterpiece. But there is something barely noticeable that kept pulling me back to listen and listen again and again. There are many more shades to this album even than their amazing debut. This album continues Lenker’s and Big Thief’s trend toward how I think of them. I first heard Lenker’s newest solo album as well as the 2 2019 Big Thief albums. On those albums there is a strange and subtle weirdness to the way the melodies are sung and how the songs are written. On Masterpiece there are shades of that unorthodox style already shining through, but with this album it seems that Big Thief have found their own sound much more fully.
The big, Luconda-levels of badass rock star singing moments are mostly gone here. As are the more obvious and direct reminders of music I have heard before (even if on their debut these were done as well as imaginable and were never distractingly derivative). Instead this album is chilly, and even when there are some good rocking moments, those moments are shrouded in a sort of hazy, cold, and slightly weird atmosphere. The songwriting lyrically is different as well. Lenker has become by this point a master of abstract, poetic phrasing and word play. On tracks like “Mary” the momentum of the lines and the evocative words are almost overwhelming the further you go in. This, despite me not really fully understanding the allusions and the words. Just gorgeous.
As for specific track standouts here, I love the icey groove and the bookending noisy outburst of track “Shark Smile” I also really get a kick out of the super simple chorus that sounds like it bottles so much classic rock music romance and power. “Oooh, baby, take me. And you say ‘Oooh, baby, take me too’” just lovely.
There is a similar icey coolness on the other “rocking” moments and tracks on this album, such as “Objects” or the closing track “Black Diamonds”. I put rocking in quotes because there are no songs here that really kick ass in a rock way. The songs here have a distinct groove achieved by the consistently excellent and stripped down and patient bass playing and drumming. As a result even the songs that perhaps don’t have the same emotional punch as the slower and more dramatic tunes, still have a motion or a deep and alluring … something. I don’t know how to explain it and instead of sitting here searching for the words for another minute I decided to just abandon it. 😊
The soft, brittle, fragile tunes here such as the opener “Pretty Things” or “Watering” have a timeless sound. They are excellently recorded and enveloping and gorgeous. The more trippy and divergent tracks such “Mythological Beauty” and “Capacity” are for me just absolutely gorgeous and, when I dig into the words and the melodies and the parts of these seemingly simple songs, my appreciation of this band grows and grows. This album may not be as immediately ear-catching or “badass” as their excellent debut, but every inch and corner of this album has something beautiful and subtle and lovely going for it.
Of course this album also features 2 of my favorite Lenker or Big Thief songs in “Mary” and “Coma”. I have touched on “Mary” before in this comment but I want to say again that the way the song builds and builds and the way the poetic lyrics sort of flow and fall out of Lenker’s mouth and the emotion of the delivery everything is just so gorgeous. As for “Coma”, words can’t do the chorus justice and the way that chorus is built up to and the way it is all so purposeful… man that track is genius.
Not going to lie, when I first heard this I was thinking “Okay, I feel I have a grip on what this is and what I wanna say”. I thought I could listen a couple times and move on to the next albums. But then each time through (up to listen 7 or 8 now) a little more revealed itself. Now here I am listening again and I am just a fan and that is all it comes down to. I thought their debut was probably as good as Big Thief would get, based on my sampling of their later albums and knowing that they never would make an album quite as folk rockin’ and anthemic as that one. But, nah, this is in many ways a development and improvement. At the very least this makes Big Thief 2 for 2 on making just absolutely beautiful, well written, performed, recorded, consistent, addictive modern indie rock and folk rock gems.
As for Masterpiece, I initially gave it a 9.2/10. I reduced that to 8.7/10. Then I proceeded to think yet again that giving a number to these pieces of art seems silly and pointless. But I am 5 albums in and I won’t remove the numbering grade system now. Just know that depending on the day, Masterpiece or those Meek/Lenker EPs or this could be the best Big Thief/Lenker project in my opinion.
This bad boy gets a 9.2/10. Just a fantastic album with only a couple songs that don’t blow me away (“Objects”, “Pretty Things” and perhaps “Great White Shark”) but with 6 songs that, in isolation, I can say are some of my new favorites. Also looking at the tracks individually misses the point for me, because what makes this album special is the whole package and how it all weaves its way together in a beautiful way. Check out this album 3 or 4 times if you have a little time. Its great.
Great album, as good as the first one. A little more consistent I'd ssay. 8/10.
Really moving and immersive album. One of my favourites, ever.
After 2016's masterpiece "Masterpiece" Big Thief deliver again with another cracker of an album . Among my top albums for 2017 .
Absolutely adore this group , "Capacity" is a triumph.
Really nice album. One of 2017's best. Vulnerable and beautiful.
Best tracks: Mary, Shark Smile, Mythological Beauty, Haley
Should be much higher on the charts, I hope more people can listen to this beautiful, soul bearing album.
This year's My Woman or No Burden. A smooth, yet soulful folk record with a lot of real vulnerability.
Stunning and beautiful.
Favorite track: mythological beauty
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