Marnie Stern – “Transparency is the New Mystery”

Marnie Stern is awesome.  Yesterday she talked some much deserved shit about those questionable Best Coast lyrics, then today she puts out a fantastic track from her upcoming album.  When your tunes are this good, you can get away with publicly talking smack.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the year what 2010 releases I was most looking forward to, Marnie’s self-titled third album would have been pretty close to the top.  It’s always exciting when a favorite artist makes changes you didn’t know you wanted to hear, and that’s exactly what Marnie did between 2007’s In Advance of the Broken Arm and 2008’s This Is It… (which was probably my second or third favorite album released that year).  She could have carved out a nice career by repeating herself, periodically putting out albums that were just slightly new variations of her signature finger-tapping and collaborator Zach Hill’s manic drumming.  No one would have called her on it, not for awhile anyway.  Not when your formula is that successful.

She evolved, though.  She writes actual songs now, with personal lyrics that aren’t maudlin or solipsistic.  It helps that even the more neurotic songs are tempered by the enthusiasm of her both her voice and guitar.  That’s the case with new song “Transparency is the New Mystery.”  The chorus finds Marnie repeating “I’m not enough,” but she’s not dealing in cheap self-pity here.  Her voice is too composed; it’s a statement, not a lament.  She’s come to terms with a less than ideal situation, and her acceptance makes the song more relatably tragic.  Underneath it all is that unreal guitar/drums chemistry that got people to take notice in the first place.  Does anyone think Bethany Consentino has a song this good in her?

This is probably my favorite song she’s ever written.  Get it here.

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