Owen – New Leaves
Record Label: Polyvinyl Record Co.
Release Date: September 21, 2009
Mike Kinsella, better known as Owen, returns with his fifth album, New Leaves. This record is very simple, stripped-down, and filled with honesty and straightforward lyrics. The album has a very relaxed, autumn-like feel to it.
On “New Leaves,” Owen’s honesty and vulnerability are clearly shown, as he explains, “I’m tired of sleeping on the couch/like a guest in my own house.” “Good Friends, Bad Habits” is backed by slow drums, as Owen discusses his feelings of uncertainty in his life: “where in the hell am I?/And how did I get here?”
An acoustic guitar and simple drum beat drive “Never Been Born,” which features some of the best lyrics on the album. On this track, Owen discusses the feelings of a young teenage love and being with the one he loves. “Amnesia and Me” is both lyrically and musically a beautiful track, equipped with violin strings creating a somber feel as Owen relates his love, who he admits “saved me from the questions in my life that have plagued me” to amnesia, for with her he forgets everything he knew.
“Too Scared to Move” and “The Only Child of Aergia” are slowed tracks where Owen continues to discuss love and “finding what I lost.” The closer, “Curtain Call,” is a pleasing end to the album. Owen realizes that he’s tired of following orders and others, and ends the album with lines expressing his ideal future for himself: “from now on it's do's and don'ts/to a room of antique maps and ghosts/where I have been where I will go.”
New Leaves is everything the title suggests it to be: a new beginning. Owen’s lyrics are outstanding, incredibly honest, and easily relatable. The tracks all flow well together; the only track I dislike is “Ugly on the Inside.” In the end, this is an album that will take many listens to truly comprehend and appreciate, but it’s worth every second.