Tim Kasher Releases Masterful 4th Album with Middling Age
4.9 out of 5 stars
Middling Age is the 4th studio album as a solo artist for Cursive’s frontman Tim Kasher, and it is on par with some of his best work yet. It comes out this Friday, April 15th (pre-save and pre-order).
If you enjoy Cursive, The Good Life or any of Kasher’s previous solo works, you will thoroughly enjoy this album as much as any. It has hints of all the projects in places (as one would expect from a man who puts himself so heavily into everything he does).
The first single off the album (and first actual song on it) is “I Don’t Think About You” which is one of my top 5 favorite songs of Tim Kasher’s solo work. It is a great song that has me thinking about past relationships and how little fights and memorable moments seem to stick in my brain and come up when you least expect them or least want them to.
The refrain, “I don’t think about you all the time,” pretty much implies the opposite. When I asked Kasher about the song, he said the song is, “Mostly about the feeling of loss that we all encounter.”
If you can imagine the song being sung about someone who is no longer alive, it is an absolute heartbreaker.
The next song on the album is called “What Are We Doing?” It’s about going to a fancy party of some sort where the protagonist is a fish out of water or at the least an unwelcome guest to some degree. Not hard to imagine an indie rocker who has some fame not feeling like a good fit at a party for the upper crust.
“The John Jouberts” is a very interesting song about a dream of playing drums in a band called ‘The John Jouberts” (who was a notorious serial killer in Maine and Nebraska in the 1980’s known for killing young boys). So, the band being named such was definitely a bit of bad joke according to the song. Kasher mentioned in a livestream on his Patreon account that Joubert was “quite literally the bogeyman” when he was growing up as he fit the description of the victims.
Probably the most cutting line of the whole song is the lines, “They say the good die young. What a shitty thing to say! The good die young.” when talking about the victims of Joubert. Pretty heartfelt and tragic words for the situation of the song.
Another great moment on the album comes with the song “On My Knees” which is a pretty uptempo song about religion and the lack of believing the dogma of the church. Basically, Kasher presents the song as his explanation of how he will get to the afterlife without the help of a divine entity.
A masterful section comes from the lines, “I know Jesus saves, love conquers hate, and still today, I can’t deny the lives that he has touched. But I don’t need a crucifix for a crutch.” That pretty much sums up the song in a nutshell.
In classic Kasher fashion, the song “You Don’t Have to Beat Yourself Up About It” he talks about big life moments that he feels he missed out on. In this song, he references trying to connect his feeling of not being remembered (personally and as a society) for things that should have been better and wonders if people have kids to try to create a better legacy for themselves without really having any idea of how to do that.
As a person who just had a kid at age 39 (and now 40), I can say, “Yeah, that’s kinda why I had a kid.” I wanted a way to continue my “life’s work” (the original title of the song) beyond my ability to do so.
In contrast though, he doesn’t want to settle down just because that’s what is expected of humans at some point in their life. Instead, he writes songs about questioning his worth - his “life’s work.”
“Life Coach” is probably the most fun song on the album as it is not only uptempo, but it is a bit more lighthearted (though still sarcastic). A song about people making a life for themselves by acting cool and following “their dreams”, and the chorus ponders, “When are you going to give up the fight and get a life?”
A couple other songs to mention would be “Whisper Your Death Wish” which is a pretty heavy song about losing someone close to some sort of terminal illness or a life cut short and trying to find a way to deal with it and also a way to stop the suffering for both the person dying and the person left behind. One absolutely soul-crushingly sad song if you have ever had to watch a loved one die.
The last song I want to mention is the last song on the album called “Forever Of The Living Dead” which is the second single off the album and features Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) and Jeff Rosenstock. The song fits so well with Kasher’s love of the horror genre of films (and the video matches that sentiment) as it discusses some self mutilation in order to get to the truth or the essence of the person inside.
Phrases like “gonna cut me in half”, “gonna cut out my heart” and “gonna cut off my head” in the process of self examination feels very fitting for Kasher’s final statement on the album.
This is a masterpiece of songwriting like much of Kasher’s previous work. In many ways, this album feels like Kasher’s fear of becoming a regret-filled, middle-aged man has come true, but in other ways his dream of never settling for what’s expected is exactly how he is able to write and create such brilliant music.
If I could ever say one thing about Kasher in general it’s that he finds a way to tear your soul out of your body with pain and sadness, but replace that with a hope for a better day that is left in the void.
Make sure to get your copy of the album for its release on Friday, April 15th!