Guided By Robert Pollard

Guided By Voices
Do The Collapse

1999
by Propellerless

Ok I’m gonna say it “Do The Collapse” is a great album.
When the album came out, we bought multiple copies to
give out at our annual Christmas Party.

None of my friends were fans before, they just knew them from me.
and I thought “Do The Collapse” would be a good album for new fans.
It worked enough for them to see the band live.

“Do The Collapse” was produced by ex-Cars leader Ric Ocasek,
Ocasek had produced albums for Bad Brains and Weezer.
The guitar sound he got for Weezer and his success producing the band
was probably the deciding factor for choosing him as producer.

On hearing the first track “Teenage FBI” Ocasek makes his presence known,
as soon as the Cars-like keyboard plays.
Those who knew the original version from the ep “Wish In One Hand”
could immediately hear the difference and preferred that early version.

It may be blasphemous to some older fans, which I am one also,
but I like the “Do The Collapse” version more,
because of the strength of the performance and Bob’s vocals,
plus Doug Gillard’s guitar solo.
but NOT because of the Cars-like keyboards.

“Zoo Pie” really kicks into gear, damn I forget how great this song is.
I saw GBV during the “Do The Collapse” tour quite a few times,
“Zoo Pie” and “Things That I Will Keep” were always live favorites.

Which brings us to “Hold On Hope.”

It was suppose to be the song that cracked the mainstream for GBV.
Sure I was hoping the band would be successful and huge,
but in hindsight,
I’m glad it didn’t happen, especially with this song.

I can just imagine,
I mention to someone how great Guided By Voices are,
and they say, “oh yeah I love “Hold On Hope.”
Unlike some, I don’t hate the song,
but it doesn’t represent the bands sound and shouldn’t be the song
people identify the band with.

There have been many bands that I have been a huge fan of,
that no one else seemed to know.
But suddenly they become huge with a song that sounds nothing
like the band I liked, for example: Queen, Genesis, REM, etc, etc.

The rest of the album is amazing,
It's just shocking for an old GBV fan to get used to great musicianship
and a production that is perfect with no mistakes.

Bob’s skill at writing pop/rock hooks has never been stronger,
“Surgical Focus” could easily be a radio hit,
if it were the sixties.

The band shows the muscle as a rock band throughout the album
especially with “Much Better Mr. Buckles” and “Strumpet Eye,”
But only “An Unmarketed Product” sounds like the band of old.

“Optical Hopscotch” and “Liquid Indian” highlight the bands more
Prog/Psychedelic side and with the proper production and musicians,
it must have been a dream for Bob to hear the finished product the first time.

Songs like, “Dragons Awake!”, “Mushroom Art”, “Wormhole”
and “Wrecking Now” sound like songs that started as those short songs
that Bob writes, perhaps to be recorded with minimal instrumentation,
like the short songs on “Mag Earwhig!”
But my guess is that Ocasek had Bob make them full length songs.

“Picture Me Big Time” is a masterpiece.

“Do The Collapse” is a great album,
A much bigger and better production than most, if not all GBV albums,
But does that make it a better album than those others?
probably not, but still a Great album.
A+

Well that’s the end of my review of “Do The Collapse.”
Below is my analyze (or over analyze) of the album from a whole different direction,
not so much a review but some of my thoughts about this album.
or just a sneaky way of including stuff I edited from my review that I thought had to be said.
 
The first Guided By Voices album I heard was “Alien Lanes” in 1995,
after that I hunted down everything by the band I could get my hands on.

At this time most of the stuff was pretty lo-fi, which I was fine with,
I really liked the fact that the band recorded their own music using
home recording equipment.

But I have no doubt that listening to “Propeller” loud in my work truck
at the time, blew my speakers out.
they rattled pretty bad after that.

I remember thinking how great it would be to have
a Guided By Voices album that I could turn up loud on a good system
without risk of blowing it out.

“Under The Bushes Under the Stars” had much better sound,
but not quite the bass response I wanted.
The Cobra Verde backed songs on “Mag Earwhig!” were more of what I was looking for.

But “Do The Collapse” finally delivered the sound I was looking for,
finally a Guided By Voices album with thunderous bass and highs that wouldn’t
destroy your systems tweeters.

TVT Records as their new record company, would get them
bigger distribution in other counties and perhaps on radio.
this was also a reason for hiring someone like Ocasek,
with his success with Weezer.

But there were compromises that had to be made.
1. Art cover design.
No more Robert Pollard Collages that graced past albums.
2. No more drinking alcohol during recording.
3. No recorded mistakes.
4. No more of those short lo-fi recording with minimal instrumentation.
5. Including tracks on soundtracks of tv shows, such as “Scrubs” and
“Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”
and
6. Produce a radio friendly single.

If “Hold On Hope” and “Do The Collapse” became huge hits,
Guided By Voices would get a whole new set of fans,
many of which would be fans for an album or two,
because fans that jump aboard during huge hit albums
are usually pretty fickle.
And they would probably lose a lot of old fans.

Case in Point: Queen
Their biggest seller was “The Game” in 1980.
which included their two biggest hits, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
and “Another One Bites the Dust.”

That album lost them many of their old fans that had been there
since the beginning, never to return, including myself.
Because they compromised their sound to sell more records

Though it also earned them many new fans,
but when their next album came out,
many of those new fans were gone.