JOE PERNICE It Feels So Good When I Stop (Ashmont)
Sub-titled “Novel Soundtrack”, this new Joe Pernice album is not per se a proper Joe Pernice album in the sense that Big Tobacco or Chappaquiddick Skyline was. In fact, the music here is meant to function as a soundtrack (promo also?) for Pernice’s new book of the same title. Yes, folks, not content at being one of the finest singer-songwriters of his generation, Pernice is now also a published novelist.
“I had always thought of Del Shannon as being right down there with Pat Boone. Why? Because I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about.”
Yes, there are excerpts of Pernice’s book (narrated by the man himself) littered throughout the album with the soundtrack operating as a mixtape of covers of Pernice’s personal faves (I presume). So we get songs from Plush, Del Shannon, Sebadoh, Dream Syndicate, Todd Rundgren – even one from Mary Poppins – rendered in Pernice’s trademarked melancholy country-folk-rock style (with 80s post punk/new wave undercurrent).
Well, there is one original, the gorgeous (what else?) Black Smoke (No Pope) – an instrumental, no less – which really makes you wish that Pernice would bless us with a new Pernice Brothers album soon…
As the album closes with a morose Hello It’s Me, the significance of the title hits home, remember that bad joke about this guy banging his head against the wall repeatedly and being asked why he was doing so… there you have it…
Sure, It Feels So Good When I Stop – novel soundtrack – is a definite oddity but as an exercise of song interpretation, it’s definitely worth checking out, whether you get the novel or not.