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Jude
King Of Yesterday
Maverick Records


Hey, Jude sounds a little Beatles-esque, and although Iím not a fan of those mop top Liverpool natives, I was quite taken with Judeís introspective third album King Of Yesterday. With an incredibly beautiful voice and catchy melodies, Judeís King is gloriously regal -- at least for a 12-day recording session.

In his liner notes, Jude writes, "This records was a non-stop party. We started on a Monday night, crammed into a pool house studio with two guitars, three amps, a bass, and our backs against the wall. Over the next two weeks friends kept stopping by to throw down parts, sit in on drums, freestyle, or mix a track. We hardly noticed the work for all the laughs until, late one morning, we all looked up and realized we were done Ė there were no more notes to play."

Sounds like his album came easily enough, which makes me even more impressed with the finished product. Apparently, the man has mad skills.

Jude grew up outside of Boston, the son of a folk singer father who, of course, encouraged Judeís artsy side. During high school, Jude developed his vocal skills in a cappella groups, and in college he developed his intellect with a Philosophy degree.

Afterwards, the soul-searching philosopher moved to (of all places) Los Angeles. After a string of odd jobs, Jude finally managed to put together a demo, which led to the release of his first album 430 N. Harper Avenue on the indie label Fish of Death in 1997. That same year, Jude was snatched up by Maverick Records. In 1998, Jude then released his follow up No One Is Really Beautiful, and his single "I Know" was a successful hit on the City Of Angels movie soundtrack.

King has a more polished sound from his raw and mostly acoustic 430 N. Harper Avenue and No One Is Really Beautiful. Jude freely admits on his official Web site that the album is definitely more commercial than his previous efforts. "On my last record, I was holding onto my art more tightly. I was more precious, and, you now, I lived in a van. This time I decided to kiss the machine a little. [And Iíve found] it likes to be kissed."

You should know, however, that, of course, it wasnít that easy for Jude. Previous to the 12-day jam session with his buddies (too and a budget of ten grand), Jude had spent eight months recording what he calls a "deeply personal project" of 32 songs Ė a demi-opera, if you will Ė called Canít Stop My Feet! Letís just say the label didnít likey much, and he succumbed to the pressures to record a new set. Like he said, he was living in a van! Who can blame him?

The album begins with its title track "King Of Yesterday". This "silly little love song" sets the gentle, romantic, and whimsical tone of the rest of the album. Though "King" starts off slowly with charming guitar chords and vocals, it soon speeds up for the chorus, "Iím the king of yesterday. Why donít you staaaaaaaaaaay?"

Many of his songs like "Everythingís All Right (I Think Itís Time)", "The Not So Pretty Princess" and "Sit Ups" follow similar formulas to "King". Even his cover of the Bread song "Everything I Own" has that slow but upbeat chorus quality. And, you know what? It works for him, so I say bravo.

His music showcases his wonderfully delicate voice, especially when he hits high notes in songs like "Everything I Own", "Red Room" and "Indian Lover". I also found humor in many of his songs like in "Sit Ups", which had a totally facetious lyrics almost (but not quite) as ridiculous as the Moldy Peaches. Example: Do I have to do sit ups if I want to be a rock starÖYou look sexy. You look hot. Is that really all weíve got. In the end, you pretend youíre my friend, but youíre not. Even in the slower "Indian Lover" thereís a funny line where he sings I will be your Indian lover boy. Feel my joy. Yowza!

-- Jin Moon

Track Listing:

  1. King Of Yesterday
  2. Everythingís All Right
  3. Red Room
  4. The Not So Pretty Princess
  5. Everything I Own
  6. Sit Ups
  7. Indian Lover
  8. Oh Boy
  9. I Do
  10. I Will Not Die
  11. Teenage Girlfriend
  12. King Of Yesterday (Radio Edit)

 

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Mike Doughty



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