Dusted Reviews

Julie Doiron - Goodnight Nobody

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Julie Doiron

Album: Goodnight Nobody

Label: Jagjaguwar

Review date: Sep. 10, 2004

The chief virtue of Julie Doiron’s recordings is the strong sense of intimacy they convey. Listening to her last two albums, the French-language Desormais and its English counterpart Heart and Crime, imparted an almost voyeuristic pleasure due to their confessional lyrics, whisper-in-your-ear vocals and homemade production. While Doiron has never had any problem creating an effective mood or conveying emotion, she isn’t the most resourceful songwriter: many of her songs are indistinguishable both lyrically and musically, and tend to melt together in an undifferentiated mass. Her latest, Goodnight Nobody benefits from her strengths and begins to reduce her weaknesses; while it may not be a tour-de-force, it’s a clear sign of an artist who continues to grow and search for new ways to express herself.

Whereas Desormais and Heart and Crime achieved an effect of intimacy by virtue of their largely solo performances, Goodnight Nobody feels like more of a group effort. Even though more full-band arrangements are used on the album, the intimate effect remains; most of the tracks were recorded live, and capture the spontaneous and unpolished intimacy that characterizes Bob Dylan’s late-'60s albums or Will Oldham’s Palace recordings. Along with the band format comes a willingness to venture into less restrained territory. While Doiron’s voice remains gentle and quiet, her songs possess a previously unseen degree of aggression and intensity.

The strongest tracks on Nobody are those that depart the most from Doiron’s previous efforts. The quieter tracks with Doiron’s characteristic journal-entry lyrics (“Sorry part III,” “Last Night”), sound uninspired and indulgent here, a rehashing of an approach that she’s used to greater effect in the past. The opener, “Snow Falls in November,” avoids navel-gazing without sacrificing intimacy and warmth thanks to its use of a more melodically developed and instrumentally rich style. One gets the sense that, despite the song’s pro-domestic sentiment — staying in a warm house while the snow falls out side — Doiron is moving away from the isolated, cold mood of her earlier recordings towards something more communal and connected. “Dance All Night” and “The Songwriter,” two other highlights, suggest much the same; they work not only as a result of strong writing and vocals, but also because of their looseness, their spontaneity, and the audible communality among the musicians.

Goodnight Nobody may not be quite as cohesive or affecting as its sparser predecessors, but it covers a broader range of mood and tone. It sounds like a natural, positive progression for Julie Doiron, and maintains the strengths of her past albums while offering a glimpse at some new ones as well.

By Michael Cramer

Other Reviews of Julie Doiron

Woke Myself Up

Loneliest in the Morning

I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day

Read More

View all articles by Michael Cramer

Find out more about Jagjaguwar

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.