Palace Music – Viva Last Blues
Drag City, 1995
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
“If I could fuck a mountain/ Lord I would fuck a mountain,” Oldham sings on “The Mountain Low.” Hell yes. That was my introduction to Will Oldham. Viva Last Blues showed up even before I See A Darkness or any of the other Bonnie “Prince” Billy albums. I got it in the dorms freshman year, and this song was always a favorite of mine. There's lots of talk of fucking things on this record. Death, mountains, men, women, who knows. They all gets fucked. Though this record is best known for the sublime “New Partner,” my favorite song (tied with “The Mountain Low”) is “Work Hard/Play Hard,” the Neil Young-esque rocker. Actually, listening to “New Partner” again is making me think that's the monster jam here. Oldham rarely ever lets himself be that fragile. Usually he's too busy bein' weird. I'm sorry I mention Oldham's weirdness so much, but I think it's just what I think when I see a picture of him in red long johns or the occasional creepy smile. He's mellowed in the past few years, and I like his sense of humor but ultimately if you sing about fucking mountains, you have to admit your are a little weird. I say the same thing about Drakkar Sauna. They're weird, there's no way around it, but they're fucking great. BUT IN A GOOD WAY. Anyway, people love this album apparently. It's pretty good, pretty damn fine. I like Arise Therefore better though.
Please watch this. It's self-explanatory. Just watch it, and your life will become much better: