To those who may be new to the blog and are reading all the cumulative posts, or for those who have been reading all along and may be thinking the same thing, I'd imagine by now it seems I like everything that I hear, so positive have all the comments been on virtually all the music I've discussed. Those who know me personally, however, know that I can be as acerbic as the next guy, perhaps even moreso.
The reason why I've had very little negative to say is that it's pretty much not the point of this blog. If I hear a new band and think they stink, I'm not even going to bother to write about them. For the most part, it's all about getting the stuff I like publicized to as many as I can, to try and spread the gospel, as it were. But one area in which I won't be averse to registering my disapproval is if a veteran artist disappoints me. So this is where Josh Rouse's Subtitulo comes in.
I received an advance copy of this a couple of days ago, and despite my earlier, optimistic pronouncement on what I had heard from the album, one word comes to mind after hearing it in its entirety: slight. Slight in the sense that it seems to be largely a very low-key, laid-back, almost acoustic affair, and slight in the sense that the songs don't grab me melodically. I'm not normally a big fan of acoustic music (although there are exceptions, if the songs are really good; one of my upcoming best of 2005 is an example), and with a few exceptions, that's what Subtitulo is. I appreciate the fact that it appears Rouse has found inner peace having moved to Spain, and that's great, but if he wants to be Spain's answer to Jack Johnson, it doesn't mean I have to keep raving about his records.
Perhaps it's also his prolificacy catching up to him; he's been releasing albums every 12-18 months lately, and maybe the well ran dry a bit (padding a 10-track, 30-something minute album with an instrumental wasn't a good sign on that score). I still do like the first couple of songs I raved about earlier (perhaps they should have formed the basis for an EP instead of a full-length), and it's also possible this album may grow on me. It's certainly not bad. But I'm pretty confident in stating it's no Nashville, or 1972, or Under Cold Blue Stars. And I hope that he's not following in the footsteps of a very similar artist, Freedy Johnston, who also had a run of three consecutive brilliant albums in the early-to-mid 90s (Can You Fly, This Perfect World, Never Home) before following them up with a low-key affair (Blue Days, Black Nights) and kind of losing his muse thereafter. I'll still be eagerly awaiting the next Josh Rouse album, but right now I'm kind of hoping it shows up in 2008 instead of 2007.