Monday, December 20, 2021

Dan Sartain - Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise LP - White Vinyl


One Little Independent (2021)

It's very difficult to write about this Dan Sartain record without delving into the extremely unfortunate fact that he's no longer with us.  In fact, a very brief back and forth about the title of this record is the very last time I interacted with Dan.  I can't remember where it happened and I can't seem to find it now.  When he was recording or had just finished recording the album, he posed a question about what the title should be and gave a few options, one of them was Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise.

In case you are unaware, it's a G.I. Joe reference.  There's a G.I. Joe miniseries called Arise, Serpentor, Arise. I of course voted for this title, but mentioned that when Serpentor came into G.I Joe is when I pretty much checked out of watching the cartoon.  Dan responded with something to the effect of "Serpentor Sucks."  He's not wrong.  Serpentor may suck, but Dan Sartain records are pretty amazing.  For the rest of this write up, I will try to only talk about the record itself.  It's too sad to go too much further into everything else, but one thing I can say if this has to be the last record, it's nice that it is as great as it is.

You could say this is a return to form in some respects to Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise.  It's definitely a return to the song styles and structures that were most evident from his self released albums through Dan Sartain Lives.  There's not much in the way of synth like his last release, Century Plaza, though there are some electronics and the use of drum machine is there for sure.  Mostly these are just great rock and roll songs with Dan's traditional swagger and passion.

It's dark in places, like on "You Can't Go Home No More" and "Kisses In The Morning."  It's optimistic in others like "Daddy's Coming Home." And it also just gets a little surreal (which is common on a lot of Dan's records) when he starts singing about "Personal Injury Law" or the infectiously fun "Foreman Grill."  That Dan could write such an amazingly catchy song extolling the virtues of cooking on a George Foreman Grill is a testament to the genius of his songwriting.  Is it silly? Of course, but that never stops it from being an engaging listen.

It's such a great record.  If you've liked Dan's other works, there's no way you won't like this one, at least when it comes to the music.  It's emotionally tough to listen to at times and there's some lyrical content that makes you wonder if there's a deeper, more connected meaning when you take real life into account.  But ultimately, looking at this record in a vacuum and listening to it just as a collection of songs, you're not going to find many any finer than Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise.

Dan Sartain - Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise:

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