Blonde Redhead, and other indie rock veterans have seen a surge of fans in recent years. Their unexpected comeback is in part due to their song “For the Damaged” from their 2000 album, and its placement in the Rick and Morty TV series. Blonde Redhead’s growing popularity led the New York indie rock trio to release their first full-length project in nine years. Sit Down for Dinner is the much-needed revival, breathing life back into this iconic band.
They shared that the album is partly inspired by Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. If you’re not familiar, the book chronicles Didion’s experiences in the year following the sudden death of her husband. It is a deeply personal and introspective work that explores grief, loss, and the complex emotions that accompany the death of a loved one. The book is where Kazu Makino, the lead singer of the band, found the title of the album. The phrase has a dual meaning, it’s both an invitation and a threat.
Makino dealt with the loss of her own when her beloved horse passed away recently. She was also inspired by her distance from her family in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their previous albums sounded so ephemeral that the music seemed ready to evaporate in an instant. Blonde Redhead brings their mysterious music back to the table, but this album seems to be more grounded. The band seizes the moment with a fuller, richer sound and some of their most gripping songs in years.
“Snowman”: The album’s themes of loss and loneliness are heard in this opening track. The hypnotic track reaches back to the Brazilian sounds that influenced Makino and Simone and Amadeo Pace’s earliest musical experiments and drapes them in swaying layers of backing vocals and percussion.
“Kiss Her Kiss Her” seems to nudge a pair of star-crossed lovers closer to each other. Likewise, the songwriting is just direct enough to keep listeners riveted.
“Not for Me”: The lyrics in this one touch on the idea of how the mind constantly shifts between desire and contempt. But they find this cycle of emotions and thoughts to be somewhat pathetic, considering their level of devotion to someone who’s not there.
“Melody Experiment”: They discover new ways to swoon by fusing dream-pop with trip-hop and dub.
“Rest of Her Life” is a tender song in an album filled with a newfound ease to their music. Even when Makino considers the honor and responsibility of carrying someone in your heart forever once they’re gone.
“Sit Down for Dinner, Pt 1” has themes of fear, uncertainty, and the need for stability in the face of challenging circumstances.
“Sit Down for Dinner, Pt 2”: This song also has an overall feeling of anxiety or pain. With a sense of emotional turmoil, loss, and distance within a family. The song has distant muffled screaming buried in the instrumental landscape.
“I Thought You Should Know” presents the band at their most blissful, a slow-burning song that radiates warmth and open-heartedness.
“Before”: The lyrics express a sense of familiarity and déjà vu in a relationship. Contemplating whether revealing their past actions to their partner will affect the love they receive. There’s an element of uncertainty and insecurity, as they question whether their partner will see them the same if they tell them what they did in a past relationship. “If I tell you now what I’ve done before / Will you still love me like before”.
“If”: The lyrics highlight a need for independence and the importance of one’s own thoughts and emotions. They suggest a desire for authenticity and self-fulfillment.
“Via Savona”: The album closes out with this tranquil and delicate instrumental. It marks the end of the warmest and most welcoming record in the band’s catalog to date.
Sit Down for Dinner is the poignant and fitting coda that this band deserves. Kazu Makino suggested that Sit Down for Dinner might be their last album together, but it captures the essence of Blonde Redhead’s evolution. Combining their signature elements with newfound warmth and accessibility. Sit Down for Dinner whether it’s a creative rebirth or a poignant farewell for Blonde Redhead, brings innovation to their signature sounds that we’ve missed.
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