Look, I know I said I was going to take the weekend off cause of the crazy cruel and crude C-word. And I’ll probably still be doing that. This skin is thinner than it usually is. But if you think that means I’m not reviewing the new Brad Mehldau album, then you’re out of your fucking mind.
I’ve been Mehldau-obsessed ever since jazz entered my vernacular. He’s the first motherfucker that proved to me that jazz wasn’t dead. That it didn’t drown in some streetlight reflecting puddle. I’ve been starry-eyed with Brad’s Art of the Trio, his bassists, his drummers, his solo works, his Bach, his partnerships, his fucking everything. I’ve had to actively remind myself that I’m an adult and that screaming till I pass out and shitting my pants isn’t proper form when some guy walks in front of me. I’ve been irrationally nervous and tongue-tied whenever Brad was in a room with me. My hands would move as if they had a mind of their own. I’m not an idiot. I know that’s some silly shit. I know Brad’s just a guy. But I can’t fucking help it. He was my first modern jazz love. And as every jazzhead knows, you never forget your first. It’s part of my marrow. So, obviously, there’s no fucking way this is going to be an unbiased opinion. Oh fuck no. This is going to be some hard fangirling. You’re going to find fangirl all over the place weeks after you’ve read this. What further aggravates my fangirling vein is that this album is some of the most innovative, genre defying, crisp, fun, angry, revolutionary, approachable yet cerebral Mehldau albums ever fucking made. I’m going to be fangirling Brad to the goddamn wall.
The strings arrangements on this album are beautiful. Yep, there are strings arrangements. The vocals are perfect. That’s right, there are vocals. Every player and guest musician on this shit is their own version of a living legend. Because this is Mehldau for fuck’s sake. If you’re playing beside him, you’ve made it. There’s a fuckton of synths on this. There’s a Fender Rhodes. There are electronics. There are choirs. It’s a smorgasbord of instrumentation on this motherfucker. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, this isn’t traditional jazz nor traditional Brad. Jazz has grown in the last few years. A bunch of young badasses changed the fucking game. When this happens, there’s always a question to who will keep up and who will be left behind. With this album, Brad doesn’t just prove that he can keep up, he proves that he is at the front of the goddamn line.
This album didn’t have to be innovative. Brad could’ve doled out some basic bitch and done very well for himself. Instead, he blew up the goddamn spot. I know I’m not getting into how this album sounds or its themes and I’m good with this. One reason is because this shit is dense as lonsdaleite. To describe this would be like describing the plot of a Pynchon novel. Also, I’m not some grinch-like joy stealer. This album is one of the best jazz releases of the year. Hands down. Without question. Bob’s your fucking uncle. It’s unlike any jazz I’ve ever heard. So why would I ruin this shit by laying it out for you in a neat little pile? Personally, I’ll be listening to this bitch on repeat till I’ve memorized each note, feeling, and silence. The depth of feeling, control, and creativity on this album is truly staggering. Jazzhead or not, Brad fan or not, if you’re not listening to this motherfucker you’re missing out on one of the best releases of the year. So press play already and get the fuck started.