Bishop Allen’s new, Grrr, came out last week. I haven’t had much time to listen to it yet, but I do like the first single/video off the album, “Dimmer”:

Critics are faulting the album for being too “cutesy” and for its “peppy preciousness.” I haven’t listened attentively to the album yet, but I can see that some of it might be “cloying” on a first hearing. Once I’ve had more time with it, I’ll get a better sense of whether I agree.

What I like about “Dimmer” is its combination of juvenilia and the existential dilemma of maturity, the recognition that everyone doesn’t automatically see us, something we just assumed when we were younger.The song seems to be about growing up but wanting to hold on to the illusions of childhood.

At least that’s what I get out of it. I’ll post the lyrics after the break.

Am I dimmer every day?
Am I just a little glimmer
like a tiny bobbing head
of an ocean swimmer?

Olly olly oxen free
Can you see me?

Do I slowly get erased
as I slowly eat my dinner?
Though my stomach might agree
I’m hardly getting thinner

Olly olly oxen free
Can you see me?

I would choose the darkest horse
That’s the horse I’d ride
The stables would be shadowy
and we’d start the race behind

They’d take their feet
and toss their hats
and yell out in surprise
You wouldn’t need binoculars
You’d see it with your own two eyes

Am I dimmer every day?
Am I shrinking, am I shrinking?
Can you recognize my thoughts?
Do you care what I am thinking?

Olly olly oxen free
Can you see me?

You see me now
but it takes a lot of squinting
and there isn’t any shade
and the sun is unrelenting

Olly olly oxen free
Can you see me?

I would choose the darkest horse
That’s the horse I’d ride
The stables would be shadowy
and we’d start the race behind

They’d take their feet
and toss their hats
and yell out in surprise
You wouldn’t need binoculars
You’d see it with your own two eyes

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