Sun Kil Moon – Benji

justin perich benjiBenjiI’m calling it right now: Sun Kil Moon’s sixth album is the most unsettlingly, brutally honest record you’ll hear for a long, long time. From family tragedy to mass murder to fear of sex and aging to motherly and fatherly love to the Led Zepellin film The Song Remains the Same, songwriter Mark Kozelek muses honestly and openly on topics of varying sorrow, embarrassment, and joy in what sounds like free association, like a drunk man with a guitar at 4am, not bothering to censor himself and just singing what he feels, exactly as he feels it. The approach isn’t always aesthetically pleasing, or even enjoyable–without any metaphors or subtext to hide behind, you feel somewhat ashamed to be overhearing these lonely tunes crooned right into your ear in Kozelek’s signature marble-mouth whine. At some point, however, you realize that this is what every songwriter tries to do with music, or at least the best songwriters, and the only difference is no one else has ever taken it to such extremes. It’s a brave, generous compilation that comes closer than perhaps anything before to bring you into the melancholy mind of a prolific musician, and immortalizing the souls of those that have touched his and are now gone. Highlight tracks: “Carissa,” “Dogs,” “Pray For Newtown,” “I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same,” “Ben’s My Friend.” 5/5 stars.