The Dandy Warhols - Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (August 1, 2000)

Okay, if you like psychedelic rock, then you ought to know The Velvet Underground. And if you know - and hopefully love - The Velvet Underground, then the first thing that associates with them in your mind will be - and that's for sure - a banana on the cover of their album. That's it, the very banana made by infamous pop-art king Andy Warhol. And that's when we get to the point - The Dandy Warhols. Obtained their name from the pop-art guy, changed it a bit to sound twice as interesting, and voila - started playing psychedelic music to perfectly fit the style of The Velvet Underground followers!

Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia is band's third studio album, released in 2000, and by all means it's the most remarkable record they've ever produced. As already obvious from the title, the album is a representation of modern understanding of bohemia - thirten small pieces of stories about who seeks what and why. While some go seeking for god and others open their mind to find themselves, the rest may be flattered just by things they own. The record starts with soft and smooth Godless with tender melody played by acoustic guitars fulfilled with harmonic sound of trumpet. The song is kind of a prologue to the topic raised in the album stating that certain sort of people never really search for anything, just remain passive, thoughtless and thus - soulless:

As thoughtless as you were back then - 
I swear that you are godless

As a contradiction to such attitude, Godless fades into the next track called Mohammed, where a man is struggling each day to find a freedom within, but "all this demons, harass my soul" - says he and lives on with desperation and loneliness. The tune is filled with acoustic guitars, soft drums and a collaboration of solo-guitar with a trumpet, which makes it sound profound and in its full extent. This is what might bring one to the policy of denying - and agression: Nietzsche starts with strong riffs like Nirvana's and psychedelic vocals, almost breathing out the mantra: 

I want a god who stays dead
Not plays dead
I - even I - can play dead

.. on and on and on again. The words of a thinker, the idea of hurt. Teenage anger towards the one who's never even proven to be there, a rebel against the usual. Where the usual is.. the one presented in fourth track - Country Leaver. Village life, bluesy guitars, small world of calm and joy, cowboys and dances on the tavern tables, and a guy who's tired of all this and just wants to go travelling the world. Though he knows pretty well that travel would change him a lot - from a bright country boy to a big-city punk. Solid logically continues the storyline, by placing the hero into a train and providing him a brand-new life to start again. Song is positive, with strong influence of The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed respectively, and it opens the topic about people searching for hidden treasures in their own subconscience: "I must have a door in the back of my head", as the lyrics say. But Solid illustrates the first stage of such nature, the lightest one by all means. Second stage comes with Horse Pills - one falls down as low as possible, ready to do anything just to get a dose so he might feel good again. For some priceless few moments. The music is agressive, lyrics are made of dirt, and you can almost feel the terrifying reality The Dandy Warhols try to tell. 

But the darkest hour is just before the dawn. And the next stage is getting off the drugs, the dirt and the horror:

Like it or not
Like a ball and a chain
All I wanna do is get off
I feel it for a minute - 

That's the Get Off - a ray of light after the nightmare. This time our hero seeks himself, the lost and forgotten part of him, while trying to slip off the drugs and come back to normal life again. Next song is an ode to other side of reality - state of infinite dreams with Sleep. One is tired, one wants to live happily ever after, even if that life would be surreal and totally made-up. Song itself is dreamy and soothing, perfectly describes the state of mind within a tired body, with head in the clouds, and the imaginary wind touching your hair. 

And - we're back to act one, scene 9 - the Cool Scene. The highest value is someone's appreciation of who you really are, but therefore you go and try to look better in that special someone's eyes. Look cool, maybe? Or even perfect? Would being cool matter as much as having cool things? Would that be enough to enter the list of modern bohemia? This are the questions raised up by Bohemian Like You in between the lines, while talking about cars, and modern, "alternative" tastes everybody adopts to look original and wanted - by his or hers special someone, which is in fact a truly casual thing:

I'm getting wise,
And i'm feeling so Bohemian like you,
It's you that I want so please,
Just a casual, casual easy thing.
Is it? It is for me.

On to the next sketch - Shakin'. A lazy and ignorant attitude towards everything that could've been important - "You were getting older, I was getting wiser not". That idea was also noted in the following track, Big Indian, which gets us back to the start of the storyline - the search is now for just the happyending, no big drama or high stakes included. 

When the future is frightening
And I seem to be fighting it
Well soon as it's brightening
Then I, I feel fine 

That's not a manifestation of wisdom, for "you never get wise, you only get older". The sunny tune leads us to the closing track, which was very symbolically named The Gospel and represents an end to any kind of searches, whether they were made in order to find god, or wisdom, or some new motto to keep you running for the rest of your life, who knows? And the last words sang out on the album were "I will take you home", a perfect ending for the epic story, don't you think? 

Cheers from Jude,
stay tuned for more