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It's not "yeah," "baby," or even "love" anymore. It's "woo!" This generation of rock and roll musicians cling to it in their faith that the genre still lives and breathes. Whether it's John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees using it to rally psychedelic madness or The War on Drug's Adam Granduciel using it to battle his anxiety on 'Red Eyes', "woo" keeps promoting genuine 21st century guitar music. Kurt Vile's version of it is much calmer than it once was. His vehicle of artistic expression has millions of miles on it, and his acceptance of this makes him the ideal songwriter for the generation we're living in. There are no stories we haven't heard, few riffs and tones that haven't been recorded, and no love song we haven't heard every side of. Even if you can't traverse Kurt's musical palette by listening, you can dawdle away an afternoon digging into comparisons on social media and music sharing spots. Regardless of influences, the one story that hasn't been played out is the personal one. No one has told the tale of Kurt Vile except Kurt Vile, and there is a diversity of expression on b'lieve I'm goin down. The bright disposition on 'Pretty Pimpin' was misleading out of context. He's a more complicated man than one song could explain.

The first few sun-eyed tunes aside, it's revealed in b'lieve's middle section that Smoke Ring for My Halo is the record's true predecessor, not Wakin on a Pretty Daze. Like 'Runner Ups' did before it, 'Wheelhouse' opens the door to the next step in Kurt's mental state. He said that he's "always sort of done the up and down melancholy versus sunshine thing" with his albums, and the first verse of 'Wheelhouse' is a rambling stock of information that's Kurt's best lyrical extrication yet. He sings about talking too much, trying to listen to his daughter despite the ringing in his ears, and accepting loneliness. It's all collected in 25 seconds, marking slightly new territory. Usually the one to let lyrics breathe over the course of several bars, the sing-speak delivery on this track instead utilizes its myriad themes to further a meditative feeling. Since we're feeling all of Kurt's emotions simultaneously, he graces us with a vamp over tremolo picking that creates an Interpol-like beauty. Sure enough, the whole second half of the track is dedicated to repetition, the words "it's a medication situation" taking on multiple meanings for the song, Kurt, and for his listeners.

This jam is repeated on 'Lost My Head There', where a piano groove slowly morphs into an instrumental coda that has Kurt once again repeating that "woo" in more of an approving tone. Long gone are the angry days of Childish Prodigy where Vile devolved into screaming lines over and over. He's still exorcising some sort of demon with his vocalizations, but it's in lieu of confidence, not aggression. Afterward on 'All In A Daze Work', Vile admits "I guess I got my mind all twisted/well all in a daze work." His decision to take a step back from full band psychosis into contemplative balladry speaks well of Vile's understanding of his work and processes. He tells himself that "you gotta be alone to figure things out sometimes" on 'Wheelhouse', and takes his own advice here just two songs later.

What specifically makes these calming moments work so well for a 2015 Kurt Vile is the (once again) change of drummer. Sacrificing the crashing, textural beats of Mike Zanghi, we now have Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa. Her contributions already feel priceless, pairing jazzy, improvisational outfits to Vile's structures. His favorite shaker sound is advanced with rim hits and finely tuned toms on 'Wheelhouse', and the ever-evolving fills Mozgawa places around 'Lost My Head There' are the perfect touch of variation that drives the grooves further skyward. As well as new musicians, Vile rolls out a stuttering piano line that could be Grimes' next sample on single 'Life Like This'. He plays around with the dichotomy of encouraging people to chase dreams like his while simultaneously smirking about his position in the industry and how little of a chance others may have of attaining it: "Wanna live a life like mine/I be doin' it baby all the time/to do so you got to roll with the punches." His lyrics are so practical and down to earth, it's easy to forgive him as he gets dismissive with a sarcastic "yeahhhh, you wish." He takes on further personas on 'I'm An Outlaw', where he brandishes a banjo and tells a story about being "on the brink of self-implosion," which is just as badass as it sounds.

Although he jokes around on 'Life Like This' and elsewhere, Kurt is deadly serious on centerpiece and 'Too Hard' sequel 'Stand Inside'. It's here where he drops all acts and works skeletally with piano and guitar. The physical sound of his fingers scraping the strings is as discernible as his love for his wife. "Don't stand by my side/stand inside/that's my good girl/my whole world turning on the couch." Many of Vile's greatest songs gestated from this dubious piece of furniture, but here he gives it a dense mythology as his emotions completely overcome him, only allowing for the simple concession: "oh my god/I love you."

These moments continue the story arc of Vile as the guy you feel like you know as a close friend. He's the everyman kind of singer, expressing his sunny side, his grey side, his overconfident side, and his paranoid side - a complex individual that always comes off as honest. True, Kurt has been expressing feelings similar to those of b'lieve for his whole career, but it doesn't mean that they belong to him any less. The "whoops" and rapturous mumblings on the outro of 'Lost My Head There' ensure that Kurt's dodging of mediocrity is no less profound than it was long before he had a wife, a daughter, and a spot among the rock and roll greats - way back when he was howling away in 2009 on 'Freak Train'. Don't take it from me, though. He can tell you all about it himself.

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