Kasey Anderson’s Nowhere Nights is the worst alt-country album I have ever heard. If Ryan Adams could be photocopied, and that copy could be copied, and that copy was faxed overseas, the result could very well be this record.
Repetitive, self-centered, and creatively bankrupt, Nowhere Nights is eleven indistinguishable songs about girls, small towns, and feelings. Anderson fancies himself a poet, but he is not. His lyrics are so rambling and unfocused that listening to this interminable emotional bog is like having a phone conversation with a fifteen-year-old suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Take the opening lines of “I Was A Photograph (Blake’s Song)”: “Sky the color of a match been struck/ Sun just hanging like the noose got stuck/ You can try to stare it back down/ But you can’t cover it up.” These seem at first to be arresting ideas. One rarely hears the sky described so violently. But take a moment to try and visualize the sky of Anderson’s imagination; it’s the color of “a match been struck.” So, orange? The initial burst of phosphorescent green? Um…orange? Now try and picture that very special Sun, hanging there, “like the noose got stuck.” Have any luck? That’s because it doesn’t mean anything. And, yes, you can “cover it up”; it’s called a cloud.
The whole thing goes on like this. Just a bunch of fake imagery and lousy rhymes. It doesn’t help that every melody is virtually identical, there is exactly one (1) musical motif per song, and the guitar playing is so uneventful that it almost seems ballsy.
The worst part is that at the beginning of each track, I find myself thinking, “Oh, maybe this one will be better. That’s sort of a nice riff. Maybe I’m being too harsh.” But then Anderson spends four minutes dangling empty words in front of me with that unnecessarily gravelly voice, insinuating that if I just listen a little more closely, some modicum of meaning will emerge or something creative will happen with the arrangement… my God, there must be some reason I’m sitting through this! But no. Four minutes pass, and I’m not just bored; I’m grumpy from the exertion of being let down over and over and over.
Listen for yourself if you don’t believe me. Just don’t make me listen with you.