Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

Kurt Vile

Bottle It In

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Kurt Vile returned this Fall with his seventh solo studio album, Bottle It In before setting out on his quite extensive world tour.

Bottle It In, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s widely successful, B’lieve I’m Goin’ Down, delivers in a way that only Kurt Vile can. The album is filled with complex guitar playing combined with shoegazing rhythmic sections and simple wordplay. But the real point of focus with Bottle It In is how it’s another example of Kurt Vile refusing to reach his full potential.

The album kicks off with a bang in what may be one of the best rock n’ roll songs of the last several years. “Loading Zones” quickly shows fans what they’ve been waiting for with the track reeking of his signature twangy southern-rock style. After that, the record quickly reminds everyone that there are two versions of Kurt Vile. One is a rock n’ roll outlaw who plays a style that is both complex yet wildly simple, making the listener want to flip their middle finger to whatever problems they’re dealing with. The other is quiet, deep, artistic, thought-provoking, and subsequently, quite boring.

When you look back on Vile’s discography since 2008, it’s much easier to pull-out songs you’ll only listen to once than it is to find the gems. Often times it’s as though he is more focused on writing long, dreamy tunes loaded with intricate guitar work and experimental creativity than being a rock star. This is not because Vile is incapable of writing arena-worthy rock jams, it’s because he doesn’t want to.

Time and time again he has delivered incredible rock n’ roll tunes that deserve even more credit than they’ve received. Songs like “Pretty Pimpin”, “I’m an Outlaw”, “Dust Bunnies”, “Loading Zones”, and even “Wakin’ On a Pretty Day” are perfect examples of the type of rock n’ roll songwriting abilities the man has showcased throughout his career.

The problem is that it only comes in spurts. Each album has a track here and there that provides fans with a hint of what they could have if Kurt Vile devoted all his energy to writing rock hits, but it appears that’s not his shtick.

After the album’s opening track and first single, “Loading Zones,” it tapers off quite a bit. There are a few glimmers of hope in songs like “One Trick Ponies”, “Rollin’ With The Flow”, and “Come Again”, but none even compare to the tracks mentioned earlier.

It’s difficult to ponder the mind of an artist, but one would have to think Vile is acutely aware of his wide-ranging sound, and that’s how he likes his career to be. Unfortunately, on Bottle It In, he kept too much of that Kurt Vile magic bottled in.

Check out Kurt Vile play some songs from Bottle It In in a life performance for Pitchfork Live: