Oar (studio album) by Alexander Spence
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Alexander Spence bestography
Oar is ranked as the best album by Alexander Spence.
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Oar track list
The tracks on this album have an average rating of 77 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).
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This album is rated in the top 5% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 76.6/100, a mean average of 75.6/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 77.0/100. The standard deviation for this album is 16.6.
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bland. dour. monotone. folk rock
I really like this album. It’s a niche album that reminds me a lot of Syd Barrett’s “The Madcap Laughs”. Coincidentally, both musicians were in similar situations when they made their albums (this one came out a year earlier). Oar isn’t supposed to be a masterpiece. It’s the back story behind the album and the story of Skip Spence that give the album extra mojo, although I do really enjoy the first half and think they are good songs with a lot of character. It’s a great album to listen to on a long car ride in a farmland open road kind of setting if you live in that kind of area. In conclusion, it’s not a spectacular, but it has character and is an enjoyable, easy listen. Weighed Down is my favorite track.
I´m not convinced..
maybe you should be in a special mood for this.
Crazy more people do not love this one. Beck gave me insight on this album and I will forever love him for remaking this album, but his work can't ever come close to this piece of art!
Psychedelic demos. Take them for what they are. We fly so close.
This is an album which I've felt many ways about at many different times. When I first heard it I thought it was an emperor's new clothes situation. I heard all the glowing reviews, heard the story of Skip Spence, the way this ramshackle, indescribable album influenced a lot of my favorite artists like Uncle Tupelo and Tom Waits, and then I heard the album and I was like "Man, this is just sloppy.".
Then I came back to it, Something was calling me. There was something going on here. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I listened and I liked it! Then I listened again and I liked it more! Then, that moment came when it was 2am, I couldn't sleep, and the day was long behind and before me, I was a bit down and lost in my own head. I sat in my livingroom with almost no light outside of that emanating from my computer screen, and I just listened to this record. It was glorious. There is something here especially in tracks like "Weighted Down" and "Grey/Afro" and "Diana" which is low and so deeply broken hearted and lost that I just can't wrap my head around how Spence managed to capture such feelings.
And on other tracks, like the constantly off kilter, sweetness of the opener "Little hands", there is something weird happening. Like the music isn't where I would ever expect it to be, the drums and the guitars are doing things at weird times which don't make sense! But the result is something special and strange and peerless.
The record, again, is sloppy. And it is not a normal record at all. But the state of mind that the record captures is so rare, and its so unique and insightful into Spence's mental state that the album is just too good to ignore.
Oh and a few quick thoughts: its super cool that spence recorded everything by himself here. Or at least almost everything, I'm pretty sure he literally plays everything himself here. His voice is all over the place, and the interesting throughout, it makes me sad that a 22 or 23 year old can wheeze out lines like "Diana, I am in pain" with such heartbreak and realness. I mean the kid was a kid. But already was dredging up the ugliest realities of life that I wouldn't expect anyone to feel at all or if ever until much later in life. Another random rapid fire thought: the guitar playing in "War In Peace" is so sharp and screaming and intense its really jawdropping. "weighted Down" is the deepest blues you'll hear from anyone not named Blind Willie Johnson, or Tommy Johnson, or Blind Lemon Jefferson,e tc. Its on this track that I can hear some roots to similar ramshackle americana veins mined by Waits in albums like Mule Variations and Bone Machine.
Okay, that's all. This is an album almost sure to rise in my mind, due to just digging its claws deep into my psyche, until I can't listen to anything else. That inevitability hasn't happened yet. Still this is crazy good and probably should be higher than other albums on my list.
Haunting, delusional, hilarious, mournful..."Oar" is all of these, and embodies the essence of alternative country.
A hidden masterpiece - stretching the boundaries of sanity.
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