November 21, 2003

Joan of Arc "In Rape Fantasy and Terror Sex We Trust"

Dear Joan of Arc--

Tim Kinsella. Tim, Tim Tim. What's up with you, sir? Your image has gotten you into trouble. We all know about the whole controversy about your last album, So Much For Staying Alive and Lovelessness, and hey, I gotta say that the whole issue sucked. That was a really great album, man. It picked up nicely where Live in Chicago left off...and though it wasn't as grand as your earlier works (in my humble opinion, that is), it proved that you weren't to be written off yet.

I'll be fair, after The Gap, I was a bit weary of you. I mean, that was a record that just didn't make much sense, and I think I listened to it all of one time. I was disappointed, but, you know, I realize that even Babe Ruth struck out. But, again, my faith had been restored after your last album, even if it didn't fly as high as I know you can. It's okay, man, I still love you. I really do, man. I know that might not mean that much right now, but believe me, it means a lot to me.

But I'm puzzled about this In Rape Fantasy & Terror Sex We Trust. Tim, may I ask you a personal question? What happened between you and your label? Why could they not hear how awesome this record is? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Jade Tree, but I have to say they were wrong to let this one slip by. To be fair, they did have a point, the Joan of Arc name had become a scary proposition. With the problems that are facing the music biz these days, releasing a record that people are a little afraid of might not have been the right thing for them to do. I'm not hatin', though. I just don't like the idea that this record's considered the 'leftovers' from the previous Joan record, because that's selling yourself short.

It's kind of nice to see Joan of Arc heading back into familiar waters, yet it's even nicer to see that you're also setting out for different shores. Yeah, you're still a walking contradiction, and I like that. I like it a lot. And though you've taken up a political stance, it still fits you like a nice, warm suit. I mean, man, I'll tell you this: "Happy 1984 and 2001" is perhaps one of the catchiest songs I've heard all year. I just cannot get that long list of shadows out of my head, and I find myself singing along with it every time I listen to it.

The rest of the album does me right, too. It's a pleasant, interesting diversion. I've really enjoyed every minute of it; I like the lyrical twists and turns of "Excitement is Exciting," the frantic yet touching moments of "Moonlighting," and the "Dinosaur Constellations" sections are really a nice touch, too. If I may ask you another personal question, man to man, you can tell me straight up or not, but after listening to "Them Brainwash Days," am I right in assuming that you've kind of realized the error of your ways? I wonder about that, because this album really is a return to form, and if it's done anything, it's restored my faith in you, Tim.

So, Tim, man, keep it up. I was wrong to doubt you; I was wrong to forsake you after you put out those really complex records. That wasn't right of me, and I'm sorry. Thank you for winning me back. And may I say that I'm excited to hear what you'll do next. What will you do next? Another Owls record? Another Friend/Enemy album? More Joan of Arc? Keep me posted, please.

Joseph Kyle

P.S. I love that half-beard thing you're sporting in that press photo.

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