Blonde Redhead - Misery Is A Butterfly (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Blonde Redhead

Misery Is A Butterfly (2004)


This being their sixth album, Blonde Redhead again comes off with their ever-so-slightly evolving style. Now, they started off more as a Sonic Youth-influenced art rock group, but Misery Is A Butterfly is full of thick melody, with many different guitar and keyboard tracks being complimented by inventive drum accompaniment and a sadder, more downtrodden tone throughout the entire album. The opener "Elephant Woman" features keyboards and strings over acoustic guitar with steady auxiliary percussion filling in the spaces of Simone's drum kit, while Kazu's vocals sweetly croon "Elephant girl / It was an accident unfortunate / Angel threw me like a rubber man / Aiming for the ground / Why amuse yourself in such way / No, don't insist I'm already hurt." While they might come off as something a fifteen-year-old might write in his or her diary, the delivery is flawless and makes up for it.

The great thing about Misery Is A Butterfly is that it retains the same tone throughout the entire record in its lyrics and melodies and instrumentation. Much like Salinger's commitment to Holden Caulfield's voice in Catcher In The Rye, Blonde Redhead is committed to presenting a record as a full piece of music, whole as an album, and not just a bunch of songs strung together. That being said, Misery Is A Butterfly is a solid release deserving great praise, but the problem is that in all the melody and intricate parts, I feel myself lost sometimes. I feel like I've been swallowed whole, and it's a little overwhelming. Just as I feel like I'm lost in this new version of Blonde Redhead, "Maddening Cloud" brings me back, reminding me of the rhythms of past records that I fell in love with. And when I go back, I develop more of a fascination with tracks like "Melody" and "Doll Is Mine," on which Amadeo sings "Mine is an act of love / Mine is a wish to solve / And mine is to sink by your side / You are to be amused / And you are never to be confused / In your first love / Your first time / Why a doll so they tell me / 'Cause she is mine/ Faith and fully mine / I must say / This love hasn't changed me / 'Cause I feel fine / Faith and fully mine."

The record finishes strong with "Pink Love" and "Equus," with "Pink Love" featuring grandiosely moving keyboard lines, and "Equus" being a poppy single that seems out of place but will get your head bobbing and your fingers snapping. All in all, Blonde Redhead has proved that they can tap into whatever they want to and come out looking like geniuses.