May 21, 2003

Weak "Weak"

"Weak" is far from the correct adjective to describe Weak's music. Antony Widoff is the one man mystery machine behind the music, and the music that he's made here makes me less than hesitant to throw out the term "brilliant." Even though I feel like the term "weak" is a bit of an intentional oxymoron, I could also see it as a sign that Widoff knows he's a brilliant fellow. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a problematic writing assignment.I'll confess right now and say that this review has been extremely difficult for me to write. It's an unintentional complication, too; it's not like I'm fighting with myself to be extremely generous with the music, either. I guess it started with the whole "why is Weak called Weak when it obviously isn't?"

After I settled that little confusion, an even greater one arose. I swear that every time I listened to Weak, I heard something different, I heard the music in a different way--and it often made me throw out what I'd just thought was correct. When I first heard the spider-sly opener "Anxiety," I instantly thought, "this guy is a modern day Syd Barrett," and that's what I heard. A twisted, kind of dark and sad folkie making challenging music. The next time I listened to Weak, the first thing I thought was, "why the heck did I think this guy sounds like Syd Barrett? He doesn't sound a thing like him. This sounds just like David Bowie." Of course, when I came back to Weak, I wondered where the Bowie comparison came from, because they sounded SOO MUCH MORE like someone else. That list of someone else, to kind of shorten the story, grew to include the following: Sparklehorse, Radiohead, Scott Walker, Grandaddy, Jeff Buckley, Coldplay, and that was just this afternoon! (You could be snide, of course, and point out that all of those bans could easily be compared to one another, but let's not do that right now, Slappy.)

Regardless of my inability to capture the genius of Weak, the sound of Weak can easily be drawn from that mighty behemoth of a paragraph. It's a slow, dark, foggy, cold and lonely musical landscape that is tempered with soft, gorgeous, fragile singing and a hint of desperation to boot. On tracks such as "When Nothing Matters" and "Wild World," he kind of gets a bit too jazzy-dancy for my taste, but he soons corrects that error, and I'm not too bothered by it. Besides, when there are other brilliant numbers like "Alice Said," "Regrets," and the utterly cover of the Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere," why bother to worry about it?

That Weak has gone virtually unheard is wrong, people. Wrong! What are we going to do about this, friends? I'll tell you what we need to do. We need to take a visit to their website,, and we need to check out their music, and we need to buy it. We need to make mention of them at every opportunity for name-dropping. C'mon, you drop Ben Gibbard's like it's yours, so why not get someone on your namedrop list that's actually good and, more importantly, deserves to be hyped up?

Get moving. NOW!!!!!.

---Joseph Kyle

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