At first glance, the most striking feature of Pelle Carlberg's
solo debut is the track listing. It seems an artist with songs
titles like "How I Broke My Foot And Met Jesus" and
"Go to Hell, Miss Rydell" might offer manic comedy echoing
Frank Zappa, or caustic rock and roll that would make
Liam Gallagher proud. In reality, Everything. Now!
has very little of either. What Carlberg's record does feature
are hushed guitars, reflective lyrics, and stunningly sincere
Carlberg, who has also recorded three full-length albums with
the band Edson, offers both lush, orchestral pop-rock and
acoustic ballads. His vocals often recall Morrissey's morbid
laments, but his assured guitar work and the rich arrangements
keep the music from becoming dour. There is a dreamlike quality
to the record, and it becomes more cohesive with each play.
Like Morrissey, Carlberg is an unconventional lyricist, but his
poetry is disarmingly straightforward. In the same way Björk
turns a phrase as if she has little sense of the way people actually
speak, many of the album's finest lyrical moments are both simple
The beautiful (and bizarrely titled) "Musikbyrån Makes
Me Wanna Smoke Crack" opens the album with a reflection on
the untimely death of Warren Zevon. Carlberg comments on
the tragedy with self-effacing sincerity. The song transitions
into the hilarious "Bastards Don't Blush," which introduces
us to Carlberg's left-field sense of humor. Sarcasm and bitterness
are scattered throughout these songs, but they only add another
dimension to a very human album.
Carlberg's songs are portraits of everyday life. Nowhere are his
observations sharper than on the closer "Mind The Gap."
The song is an affecting meditation on the human tendency to turn
away from pain and suffering. "It's sad to see how people look
away," Carlberg sings, but he doesn't let the song run its
course without a smirk. He later reflects, "I wanted to ask
her what she meant / If she had a brain made of cement." The
song ties together all of Carlberg's considerable talents.
The plaintive acoustic guitar on "Telemarketing" manages
to turn something hopelessly mundane into poetry. "Don't sell
me things that I don't need / Don't make me buy your scheme / I
can't say no to a human voice," he sings. The final sentence
explains exactly how Pelle Carlberg took eleven very good songs
and made them into one great album. For whatever reason, records
that reflect the record-maker have always been rare, and Carlberg
confesses just enough to make this a beautiful, remarkably human
piece of work.
1. Musikbyrån Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack
2. Bastards Don't Blush
4. A Tasteless Offer
5. Go To Hell, Miss Rydell
7. Oh No! It's Happening Again
8. How I Broke My Foot And Met Jesus
9. Summer Of '69
10. I Had A Guitar (Bjärton and I)
11. Mind The Gap
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