Day 215: Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

1 Oct

French Navy

Here at Swole Ear, we’re all about the expansion of the mind, so when I saw a word with which I was unfamiliar in the title of Camera Obscura’s most recent album, I didn’t just ignore it and carry on with my review.  Partially because I want to build my vocabulary, and partially because I have to write about something, I looked up the word “maudlin.”  According to, it’s a way of describing something as “tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental.”  Now, you can’t say that this website ain’t dun nothin’ for ya.

Camera Obscura is known for making sugary sweet, oft melodramatic and over-the-top music, so the word “maudlin” is not out of place in an album title of theirs.  And if we are supposed to imagine that lead singer Tracyanne Campbell is muttering the phrase “my maudlin career”, then the title actually works.  It has become her job to be tearful in her music, and foolishly sentimental in her lyrics.  That’s why people love this band, but I’m not biting.

Camera Obscura is not a bad group, and this record is not terrible. There’s no denying that the instrumentation on this record is pretty solid—catchy treble guitars and pleasant vocals abound, and it all comes together in something that’s fairly easy to listen to.  Think Tennis with more people and higher production value.  The issue is that I don’t see any reason to listen to this record again.  The band brings nothing new to the table, and offers me nothing that I can’t get out of a more interesting record.


2 Responses to “Day 215: Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career”

  1. Yuanny Dollar October 3, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    I’m with you Mr. Ear. This is just kind of blah. Nothing special at all. Too slick for my money. If I want something slick in this realm, I just go all in with some old Sade (but rarely is that what I want).

  2. Alex October 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    I heard this album being praised all over the Blogosphere a year or two ago and loved the album art. When I finally listened to it though I was, like you, pretty underwhelmed. Her high-pitched nasal warbling leaves something to be desired.

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