It was almost inevitable that Pete Yorn would suffer a bit of a sophomore slump with Day I Forgot, his followup to musicforthemorningafter – if I started raving about Day I Forgot as much as I did about the last album, you’d probably suspect me of being on the Yorn payroll. But “not being as good as one of Dave’s Damn Near Perfect albums” is not all that penetrating a review, so I feel compelled to say a little bit more on behalf of what is, in its own right, a fine musical achievement.
The songwriting skills that first hooked me on Yorn are still in evidence on this album. More importantly, he and partner R. Walt Vincent show a ton of talent for building a song from layer after layer of instruments. The best songs on Day I Forgot build momentum from an enthusiastic point-counterpoint duel between numerous guitars, percussion, keyboards, and whatever else they could find in the studio to make some noise. That Yorn and Vincent play most of them while co-producing most of the tracks is almost enough to qualify them as a tandem musical hermit crab. They do have some able help, such as mixers and occasional co-producers Andy Wallace and Scott Litt. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck even shows up to play mandolin on one track, further confirming the man’s good taste.
My three favorite songs on the album are all up-tempo rockers, although only Burrito has the boundless energy of Life On A Chain. I simply can not not move when I hear this song, and I only wish it were longer than 2:45. “Crystal Village” and “Committed” are both a little more sedate, a little more clearly bittersweet, but they are excellent songs. I was listening to “Crystal Village” on headphones, and there’s an acoustic guitar part sort of buried in the right channel that just worms its way into your brain and doesn’t let go. The umpteen other guitars on top just echo and build on that small part to create a great listening experience. “Committed” is just…I don’t have the words for this song. There’s a very specific emotion that this song just captures, a sort of resigned acceptance of life’s pitfalls mixed with the realization that life’s still pretty darned good.
I want to rate this album at three, because it’s on the short side and a couple of the songs are merely OK. But the good songs are SO good – I was holding my one-year-old daughter while listening to “Committed”, and tears starting streaming down my face. Anything that can move me in such a fashion has to get a top score, but be aware that especially in this case, your mileage may vary.
- Intro (0:47)
- Come Back Down (3:24)
- Crystal Village (3:46)
- Carlos (Don’t Let It Go To Your Head) (3:29)
- Pass Me By (3:51)
- Committed (3:29)
- Long Way Down (3:38)
- When You See the Light (2:43)
- Turn Of The Century (3:03)
- Burrito (2:45)
- Man In Uniform (2:41)
- All At Once (4:04)
- So Much Work (4:47 – technically, this is track 14)
Released by: Columbia
Release date: 2003
Total running time: 42:44