Album Mini-review: R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner — Make it Be
File next to: Martin Newell, The Orange Peels, Fountains of Wayne
With output that makes Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard look like Boston’s Tom Scholz, lo-fi hero R. Stevie Moore knows how to write indelibly catchy songs. But he often doesn’t: on his 400-plus albums, Moore’s decidedly skewed pop often wraps accessible melodies inside ultra-quirky, left-field arrangements. Multi-instrumentalist power pop legend (and hired gun for Air, Jellyfish and Beck) Jason Falkner can create transcendent, rocking pop seemingly at will. The seemingly unlikely pairing of these two *auteurs has resulted in Make it Be, an 18-cut album that brings out the very best in both musicians. Here, Falkner’s predilection for ambitious arrangements is subdued in favor of a brilliantly straightforward approach, and he helps songwriter Moore limit his tendency toward defiant weirdness to the lyrics and song titles (“I H8 PPL,” for example). Make it Be is a high point in the catalogs of both artists.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.