Babybird

There's Something Going On

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AllMusic Review by

There's Something Going On is the least catchy of Stephen Jones' hi-fi Baby Bird albums. The only song suggesting the pop charm of "You're Gorgeous" is "If You'll Be Mine," a beautiful minor ballad. The album is almost unrelentingly dark and mysterious, in much the same manner as his earlier lo-fi productions. Indeed, two of the tracks here, "You Will Always Love Me" and "There's Something Going On," were recorded straight to four-track. Jones' voice echoes out of lyrical valleys that suggest he's quite disturbed when it comes to relationships and life in general. "Take Me Back" is a horrific tale of an obsessive relationship, with lyrics about eyeballs scratched with rusty nails and a creepy chant of "dead, dead, dead" ad infinitum. It's a conceit that starts with the very first track, "Bad Old Man," where Jones sings of wife-beaters and a drowning in a duck pond. Musically, the album is more of a lean toward the baroque than Ugly Beautiful. One might describe it as stark, disturbed chamber pop. Beautiful melodies appear quite majestically out of Jones' psychological studies. "It's Not Funny Anymore" is bittersweet and touching, with Jones reaching for the album's emotional core over weeping, organic keyboards. "There's Something Going On" is the tender conclusion, suggesting that Jones knows there's a better way of life than obsession and self-torture. There's Something Going On is definitely Baby Bird's most subtle album, and it's a fascinating listen from start to finish.

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