Transaction de Novo

Band: Bedhead
Album: Transaction de Novo
Best song: “Forgetting,” “More than Ever” and “Psychosomatica” are all classics in different ways. “Parade” is brilliant, too.
Worst song: Guess who writes only about albums he loves? This blog should be called Albums that I Love (more on titles below).

This blog could have and should have been called Forgetting.

I say this because the origins of this blog — and the unlisted records on the other site — was to recount my own experiences with these records. Essentially, 31 Songs, only written by an American who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. Also, someone about whom you probably don’t care. Also, a blog.

So, if I ever self-publish any of these essays on actual paper (unlikely), I’d want to call it Forgetting (again, unlikely). I’d have to probably ask Matt Kadane for permission (super unlikely), because I’d probably want to use one of my favorite quotes of all time in the forward. It is a bit of lyrics from the unparalleled song from Transaction de Novo, “Forgetting.”

Are your eyes getting wiser?
With compliments, I know I’m a miser.
But the only thing that makes me look forward,
is forgetting.

Bedhead’s style is often alled “slowcore,” in that the band mostly used simple, single-line melodies, echoed by three guitars and a bass, along with an almost melodically monotone singer doing the vocal duties. Unlike the Pixies’ quietLOUDquiet style, the Bedhead dudes did more work in the Velvet Underground’s early style of clean guitars ramping up toward a crescendo.

Indeed, some of the best songs on the album go against this style, as the aforementioned “Forgetting” stays on one — admittedly, very slow — pace and one volume throughout the song, while “Psychosomatica” is more like a Joy Division record than anything else. “Lepidotera” is a crazy, confounding lyrical journey based on another single-line melody that is simply entrancing.

The record was released while I was in high school. I loved it when I heard it and listened to it a million times. It was so different than the music I was enjoying otherwise.

But I didn’t digest the songs fully until I was in college. I then started to understand the brilliance in the guitar sparring and/or echoing. Like David Gilmour’s solos, I learned that Bedhead’s arrangements were a “less is more” situation, making every note count.

Now that I listen to it again, I realize the near-perfection in the record’s progression, both lyrically and musically. The record becomes more and dynamic as it flips from song to song to song. “More than Ever” — as perfect a low-key song as ever written — builds to “Parade” and so on. the record dips at “Forgetting” only to build back up for the album’s dynamic speed chase, “Psychosomatica.” Lyrically, the songs become more and more verbose, with “More than Ever” forboding and accurate, while the jaunt into “Lepidoptera” and “Psychosomatica” put forth a sort of philosophical conundrum. Regret tinges “The Present” and we’re back to square one. Album end.

Bedhead – Forgetting

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2 Trackbacks

  • By WhatFunLifeWas | Albums That I Own on September 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    […] to me, but because there’s a air of regret and contemplation often not seen in other works. Transaction de Novo is one of my favorite albums because it speaks to a life lived with regrets, not some bullshit […]

  • By For My Crimes | on July 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    […] The greatest lyrics, to me, are those that use simple language to convey beautiful emotions that stay with you. I get why people like the literary or the flowers, but I think of Death Cab for Cutie’s “For What Reason,” Elliott Smith’s best work and Chelsea Wolfe’s, well, whole catalog get to the heart of deep emotion better than the florid shit. “I’m not the kind of sick that you can fix” and “This won’t be the last you hear from me/it’s just the start” have the rhythm and access that the more complicated stuff doesn’t do. One of the best single lyrical couplets I can recall is “The only thing that makes me go forward/is forgetting.” […]

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  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

    You can contact me at rjgianfortune at gmail dot com.

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