Monday, May 12, 2014

I Am The Cosmos

This song means everything to me right now, specifically the first lines containing the titular phrase. Chris Bell, the founder of Big Star and former vocalist/guitarist for the group, finds the perfect middle ground between hazy guitar chords and melancholy vocals/lyrics. I'll admit that for me his vocal work in Big Star (#1 Record) was always overshadowed by Alex Chilton, despite the fact that Bell actually founded the early 70s Memphis pop-rock group. Of course, Alex was already famous from being in the Box Tops when he joined Bell in Big Star and the unrealized potential of the group combined with inner tensions to cause Bell's exit from his own band. As Alex became the sole front man and birthed the classic Radio City album, Chris Bell wandered from his home in Memphis to travel/record in Europe, all the while experimenting with drugs, religion and at different points his own sexuality. "I Am the Cosmos" is the most fully realized product of that era, and it marries the post-British invasion aspirations of Bell's former group to more ethereal and atmospheric pop. Bell juxtaposes his larger spiritual beliefs and connections to the earth with his human and more base desires of loss and longing. Although his ethos may be in line, clearly he wants someone he can no longer have.

(For more info on Bell and Big Star, check out the music doc Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me)