Sun Kil Moon’s latest album release Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood is fairly unimpressive. While the lyrical content, which covers violent current events and today’s heated political climate, is respectable and important, the songs are simply not pleasant to the ear. No one can argue that we’re certainly living during contentious times, and we can feel and hear Mark Kozelek’s frustration in this album. It’s inspiring when individual beliefs, political values, and opinions are incorporated into art, though here Kozelek’s rambling lyrics are just against sub-par musical backdrops. It would be more appropriate to consider this record a poetry slam, a podcast, or an audio book…just anything but music.
Chili Lemon Peanuts, Philadelphia Cop, and Stranger Than Paradise are exasperatingly long, though God Bless Ohio is the most audibly tolerable. The album is comprised of songs that are either personal stories or thoughts on politics, recent shootings and terror attacks, celebrity deaths, etc. Bastille Day refers to the terrorist attack in Nice, France, the senseless killings “suppressing our spirit and our faith in humanity”. Window Sash Weights and Early June Blues, compared to its comrades, are actually enjoyable, and we can interpret what Kozelek is saying – his voice often croaking and mumbling throughout the rest of the record.
Listening to this album is like listening to Kozelek have a conversation with himself, listening to an audio version of his diary, and being trapped in his mind with his thoughts. Again, the content of the album is definitely worth discussing, but unfortunately you can’t engage in meaningful conversation with a recording. It feels like you’re on a really long date where the person does not stop talking, so unfortunately you just can’t wait until it’s over. If you can listen to this in one sitting, you are incredibly patient and deserve a medal!