Amoeblog


(In which Job picks his favorite album of 2009.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 14, 2009 12:13pm | Post a Comment
Aloha, humanity! I’m back from my all-too-brief vacation on the Islands of Hawaii, about which I will tell you soon, but not now, as the time has come for my contribution to the Amoeblog Best of 2009.

As many of you know, I don’t exactly ride the cutting edge of the music scene, and most of the music I listen to was made by people who either died of a smack overdose on the balcony of some plush hotel over twenty-five years ago, or they died trying to free their brothers and sisters from Southern slavery, or they were assassinated in the French Revolution. These are roundabout ways of saying I listen to dead people.

So when I’m in a position to name my favorite picks from the current year, I’m normally a deer in headlights, hoping I can somehow convince people that Helen Kane didn’t actually die in 1966, and has just released this awesome new single…


Really! Morrissey produced it. I know, it sounds like it was recorded decades ago, but that’s because… of… things and… stuff.

This year, however, I am happy to report I have a favorite album that really was released in 2009 by someone who’s really alive and the album is really good!

The album is Get Reasonable and it was recorded by Golden Shoulders, a poetic name that cloaks the identity of Adam Kline – the brains behind the outfit.

golden shoulders
"So delicious! And nutritious!"

Get Reasonable is the natural progression of music that blossomed from the ashes of grunge; it is rock music and it is sincere. While a huge swath of people have invested in acts that are devoutly escapist, such as Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, or the cast of Glee, Golden Shoulders has amassed a loyal following of music enthusiasts who value craftsmanship over craftiness and witty lyrics over easily learnable ones. Golden Shoulders’ sound is fresh, inventive, smart and completely devoid of so many of the production gimmicks that plague the airwaves currently.

Adam Kline’s music is at once accessible without being cliché. Obvious influences are The Kinks and pre-disco Bee Gees; he’s also influenced by the folk traditions of the Pacific Northwest, more so in instrument choices than tunings.

adam kline
The aforementioned brains.

Of particular note are his words. Ever-aware that lyrics are an opportunity not to be taken lightly, he deftly warbles on matters of personal and social conscious in a way befit of master-lyricists such as Morrissey, Dylan, or Phil Ochs – in fact, I would venture to say Golden Shoulders is what Phil Ochs would sound like if he was today instead of yesterday.

This is not to say that Kline is preachy – he’s too pithy to be anything but delightful, but he doesn’t shy away from giving voice to matters more complex than cell phones or botched three-ways.

Get Reasonable covers a lot of sound-territory but remains cohesive. There’s not a single, skipable track on the record; it doesn’t repeat itself.

I recommend putting it in your car stereo and listening to it loud. It will give you better gas mileage. I don’t know how, but it does! This and the reasons above make it my favorite album of 2009. Why not see what all my fuss is about and get yourself a copy? After all, you totally love music that is awesome, d'accord?

golden shoulders

Relevant Tags

Helen Kane (1), Nevada City (25), Phil Ochs (3), Morrissey (37), Adam Kline (5), Golden Shoulders (5), 2009 List (25), Betty Boop (2)