The longevity of ‘Common As Light…’ may make it a challenge to navigate initially, but with each sitting the album grows more personal, and feels like the natural progression from last year’s Jesu collaboration.
This is ultimately a record about the limitless ways human beings will find to make sense of and talk about the weirdness of our everyday lives.
Devoting time to ‘Common as Light’ is worth the effort in most part. There are still the familiarly macabre scenes in abundance and an obsession with boxing. Sun Kil Moon assumes the role of elder statesman to review modern America and in turn himself – his role in modernity.
There’s no doubt that Kozelek has changed, and for much of Common As Light… his ramblings and sonic backdrop are gripping. Unfortunately, there are many moments when that rambling seems aimless. The good news for fans of Kozelek’s work in its current iteration is that there will be no shortage of worldly events for him to contend with for future projects.
The reason why similarly quotidian story-songs like “Gustavo” or “Jim Wise” hit so hard was because they resulted in double portraits: You learned more about Kozelek through his observations of others. On Common as Light, Kozelek fills the whole frame, increasing the humor and anger, but sacrificing the subtlety.
Not even Kozelek can command it entirely for 130 minutes, though, and when you’ve already achieved perfection just three years previously, it’s always going to be hard to reach those heights again.
The double album concept only waters down Kozelek’s biting social commentary and exquisite observations on living.
For those who have been enjoying his stream-of-consciousness lyrical style and day-in-the-life ramblings — even as they stray further and further from what could be described as music — his latest record offers the most exhaustive (and exhausting) probe yet into his life and mind.
Kozelek spends a lot of time on Common as Light giving us his broadly “common sense” liberal pluralist live-and-let-live shtick, punctuated by grumpy bashings of “hipster” culture and its parades of regenerated tenement buildings and juice bars, music journalists, and Father John Misty.