MJ Hibbett & The Validators

The other day I got an e-mail from Mark of MJ Hibbett & The Validators alerting me to the fact that they've released last year's Regardez, Ecoutez, Et Repetez and through Bandcamp (which is, incidentally, kind of an amazing site.) And I though, well, that's nice, I'll have to listen to that, etc. and then went about the rest of my work day and ran some errands and didn't really return to it until this afternoon.

BUT (really, I'm getting there) this afternoon I was sitting at my desk at work listening to the new Janelle Monae album (which is very good and very different from what I normally listen to and post about here -- maybe I'll get to that in a separate entry) when I thought, you know, I really should listen to that MJ Hibbett & The Validators album before I get caught up in something else (you know, like working.)

I hadn't really had to much prior exposure to MJ Hibbett & The Validators -- Drew has a couple of their 7"s and I enjoyed their cover of "Glory Days" for WIAIWYA's Bruce Springsteen tribute, but I had never heard a full album from them & I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised!

The opening track, "Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid," is a stunningly sincere pop tune. I also really enjoyed "Best Behaviour" and "Red Black Gold." The Bandcamp stream was a little spotty for me -- once songs started playing, they would play all the way through, but occasionally songs just wouldn't start. (It's entirely probable that this was a problem on my end either with my wifi connection or my computer.) The album has a nice blend of "serious" songs and humorous ones, though things are more or less uptempo throughout. I'll admit that lyrically some songs didn't work for me (especially "Do More, Eat Less" and "All the Good Men"), I think that's mainly due to me being an almost deathly serious sort of person, especially when it comes to things like the discourse around how/why people eat [1] or what motivates people to act on sexual desire & the fact that I tend to come at these issues from a very specific place -- it can be hard for me to shut off the academic part of my brain and stop analyzing things sometimes. I can only assume that Drew would tell me to deal with it because these songs are awesome & I'd imagine that many other people feel the same way. But anyway, at their core, even the songs I got hung up over are coming from a place of personal experience and genuine sincerity and I definitely don't want to invalidate that with my hang-ups.

My final thought: I love the blend of emotions that this album invokes -- garden variety happiness, nostalgia, a resigned crankiness (exemplified in "We're Old and We're Tired (and We Want to Go Home)," which just might be a new anthem of mine.) I love that this album sounds deeply youthful, but lyrically reflects a much wider range of emotions that tend to come with age. So many of these songs seem informed by a lifetime of experiences that help to make them seem wise, but the sound that MJ Hibbett & The Validators create has the album sounding anything by old and stale.

Regardez, Ecoutez, Et Repetez can be streamed in full here. You can pick the album up on CD for 10GBP or get it in download form for 5GBP.

The band has made a great promotional video for the album that you can watch here:

They've also made a video for the song, "My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once":

As always, if you have something that you want me to listen to, feel free to send me an e-mail at heysideponytail@gmail.com!

[1] Like, just a few weeks ago, Drew and I got into a protracted argument about the title of Michael Pollan's new-ish book, Food Rules and how I thought it was a loaded/problematic title because it suggested that there were inherently good/appropriate ways to eat for all people & Drew was like, "But he's just saying that people should eat less! And should try to have more fresh food instead of processed food!" But I couldn't get over the semantics of the title. ANYWAY, let's just try and keep my boring beliefs out of this.


MJ Hibbett said...

Thanks very much indeed for that - really appreciate you taking the time to listen, and also having a proper old think about it, cheers!

K. said...

@MJ Hibbett Thanks for commenting! I was just getting ready to e-mail you (you're fast! do you have Google Alerts set up? I always worry about Google Alerts alerting people to me saying foolish things.) I really enjoyed the album & am glad that it's been re-released so that I was able to catch it this time around! Do you happen to know if any US distros have copies or is it best to get a physical copy through Bandcamp/your site?

Pete Green said...

"Stunningly sincere" would be a good tagline for Hibbett's output as a whole, I think. Strange that it's such an unusual quality in pop music.

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