Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Jónsi – Go Do

And it’s our second Maroon 5 comparison of the week…


Alfred Soto: His pedigree is the giveaway: involvement with a pompous “longform” band necessitated a pop move with an unseemly emphasis on the ethereal. I close my eyes and hear Adam Levine, minus the sleaze. What else does Jonsi do with that cello bow?

Chuck Eddy: Kind of crazy how singers like this so often tend to make my jaw and fists clench as soon as they begin. Totally involuntary reflex, too, I think; I promise to get it checked sometime. Anyway, here it’s a shame, since those electronic noises at the start were rather nifty for five seconds.

Martin Skidmore: I guess it’s supposed to wash over me in a movingly atmospheric way, but it sounds too strained in the singing and the attempt at effect.

Ian Mathers: So it turns out that the difference between the Sigur Ros frontman and Elizabeth Fraser is that he’s actually singing in English — go figure. This remains a rapturously beautiful cross between the Cocteau Twins and Owen Pallett (no surprise to find Nico Muhly’s gorgeous work here, although anyone who likes the strings ought to check out the new Sam Amidon…), and as such is better than anything Sigur Ros have ever done by at least one order of magnitude. Minus a point for the fact that the whole four and a half minutes isn’t quite as amazing as the minute in the middle.

Martin Kavka: Olivier Messiaen’s music was always marred by his assumption that an audience could find God passively, just by sitting back and opening itself up to various sounds. Like Messiaen, Jónsi uses elements of birdsong (echoed in the video treatment) and unconventional rhythms to blur the distinction between the mundane and the spiritual. Yet “Go Do” strikes me as anti-Messiaen in the most important respects. Maybe it’s the percussive build, or maybe it’s the refrain “we should always know that we can do anything,” but it makes me know as deeply as I know that 2+2=4 that ecstasy can never be found while passively listening to music. The adventure of “Go Do” begins once the song ends, and for that reason it will most likely be My 2010 Song I Listen To When I Am Down In The Dumps Because It Will Make Everything Better In Five Minutes And Then I Will Go Outside And Live Dammit Live.

Iain Mew: It’s a pleasant novelty to hear Jónsi’s alien falsetto inhabiting a tune as breezy and light on its feet as this, even more so than being able to make out what he’s on about (well, to a point). Could do with a bit more focus and less length – there’s only so far flightiness can go – but it’ll do.

John Seroff: “Go Do” is sweet and chirruping lolli-pop of the sort you might imagine Patrick Wolf would do while sugar binging. The monotonously pounding beat, twee-glitch flute and Jónsi’s near-incomprehensible castrato warble (I wasn’t immediately sure this was in English) should likely mark this as more insufferable than it is, but for a somewhat generic uplifter destined to inevitably become a Nissan commercial, it somehow totals to more than charming.

Matt Cibula: Hmmmm. I don’t really love this, but I just can’t dismiss it either; it’s propulsive, it has a heart and a kind of Thin White Stardust soul, and he still knows how to put chords together to form an Escher staircase that always goes up.

Edward Okulicz: The birdsong is a little bit of a distraction – in fact, any of the elements of this song could probably be annoying in isolation, but strangely, the denser and more weighty the instumentation gets, the more it takes off.

4 Responses to “Jónsi – Go Do”

  1. ohhhhh, this is muhly arrangement. I think that explains why i like this.
    cosine on amidon btw.

  2. also: Martin, great blurb; the messiaen thoughts are apt.

  3. Messiaen on Singles Jukebox oh man just blew my mind.

  4. The grade breakdown is no surprise.