Clem Snide: Sneaking Sideways Glances

Clem Snide i i

In the briskly charming "Denise," Clem Snide singer Eef Barzelay (left) stays on the sweet side, even as his affection meanders into obsession. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Clem Snide

In the briskly charming "Denise," Clem Snide singer Eef Barzelay (left) stays on the sweet side, even as his affection meanders into obsession.

courtesy of the artist

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Denise"
  • Artist: Clem Snide
  • CD: The Meat of Life
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

Clem Snide singer Eef Barzelay has crafted sly and heartfelt songs about some unlikely people and places, whether he's romanticizing a Wal-Mart parking lot, ruminating on the hard life of Lucille Ball, or singing from the perspective of a dancer in hip-hop videos. Consequently, he's gotten a bad rap as a bit of an irony merchant — the sort of guy who infuses his every bit of wordplay with a sly wink. But Barzelay has also written an entire album, 2003's underrated Soft Spot, full of nothing but achingly sincere love songs; for him, cleverness is a means to an end, and never an end unto itself.

In "Denise," a briskly charming mid-tempo love song from Clem Snide's recent seventh album The Meat of Life, Barzelay stays on the sweet side — "What we have is more than good / It seems to shine a light behind my eyes" — even as his affection meanders into obsession. (No come-on, no matter how heartfelt, can be considered pure of intent if it contains the phrase "I will not be ignored.") But that's part of what makes Barzelay such a magnificent songwriter: No matter how straight-ahead his subject matter may be, and no matter how directly he seems to express his emotions, his words find him sneaking sideways glances — and saying more than he seems to mean.

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The Meat of Life

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Album
The Meat of Life
Artist
Clem Snide
Label
429 Records
Released
2010

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