#399 Jim O’Rourke – Therefore, I Am


Me? I’m getting better everyday. I was revisiting one of my favourite Jim O’Rourke albums this week, and was surprised at how well, albeit quietly, the popping and rocking Insignificance has aged through the years. In “Therefore, I am”, the driving opening riffs sound like they’ve never stopped since they were first recorded more than a decade ago, while the pop harmonies that gave the song its richness sound even brighter than before.

That’s what I said, don’t believe what you heard. But I never know whether to take O’Rourke for what he says – is this the work of an artist at odds with himself (and his listeners), or a gifted songwriter capable of crafting a perfect pop song around confessional antagonism? There is a deliberate ambiguity in this work that contrasts with the straightforward song structure that encases those unlikeable thoughts: Is that really him speaking? To me?

It’s not like I want to be king; but I can’t help myself, it’s just that I am. Or is this pure arrogance? I really can’t tell. While this is usually regarded as among his most accessible work, I think it grows in complexity with each listen. Perhaps more accurately it reveals more about the man than his other recordings and collaborations, the conflicts borne within, but also the simplicity with which things can be expressed. I don’t think I’ll tire of revisiting this. – Dan.

mp3: Jim O’Rourke – Therefore, I Am

Insignificance is still, after all these years, out on Drag City.

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