Carrie and Lowell is on many (if not most) Best Of lists this year (though no Grammy nods), and with amazingly good reason. This album is one of the most heartfelt, wonderful, awful records I've ever heard. More or less written about his childhood, the complicated relationship between him and his mother, and the time of her death (if you want more background, it's out there and easy to find, so I won't go too much further into the backstory).
I know there's been some pushback on the whiney singer/songwriter wailing over his acoustic recently, and this album could be construed as that, but I don't think it applies. In my mind, he wrote this album strictly for himself. He was kind enough to invite us in on what must have been a substantial and devastating cathartic journey. Littered throughout are so many baldly personal, terrible little slices of life. Take the first two verses this song alone:
Light struck from the lemon tree
What if I’d never seen hysterical light from Eugene?
Lemon yogurt, remember I pulled at your shirt
I dropped the ashtray on the floor
I just wanted to be near you
Emerald Park, wonders never cease
The man who taught me to swim, he couldn't quite say my first name
Like a Father he led
Community water on my head
And he called me “Subaru”
And now I want to be near you
It may not be my favorite of his (I mean, my god, Age of Adz), but it is definitely his finest work to this point. Sparse, sharply honed, and expertly crafted. A simply masterful album from one of my favorite craftsmen.
...oh, right, I should probably play the song now.
Sorry, I wanted to find something professionally done from this album, however, strangely, none seem to exist.
Anyway, if this piques your interest, here's the album version of the first track, also awfully wonderful/depressing: