Miller: The Instigator
By: Ami Lieberman
brave leap from band front man of the Old
97's to a daring solo act was a successful one to say the least.
His newest solo album, The Instigator, restores my hope that
good songwriting still does exist. And while a few of the songs
get lost in pop monotony, the majority merit recognition. Songs
like Hover, Come Around, and The El show that
Miller undoubtedly possesses skill at writing catchy energetic songs,
alt-country style. And, intensely moving songs such as Terrible
Vision and Nervous Heart show that Miller is not afraid
to liberally expose his emotions.
There is nothing innovative
on this album, but that minimalism is unquestionably responsible
for its appeal. Lyrically and musically speaking, the songs are
purely fun with the occasional emotive piece making an appearance.
While his melodies are definitely captivating, there aren't complicated
guitar solos or orchestrated bridges. It's simply a guy and his
guitar, rocking out.
The opening track, Our
Love, is an upbeat song where Miller alludes to love letters
written by Frank Kafka and Richard Wagner. He sings, Kafka in
his letters to his lover Milena was alive / But he was waiting for
a love that never would arrive / Their rendezvous was singular,
her husband was his friend, displaying his knack for clever
storytelling in rhyme.
Although his lyrics aren't
going to make your head swell with poignancy, one can still enjoy
The Instigator for its fun-filled ear-ride.