Opinion | Bona Fide | “Bottle It In”

A Review of Kurt Vile’s “Bottle It In”


Kurt Vile released his seventh album, “Bottle it in,” Oct. 12.

From War on Drugs guitarist to frontman of his own group Kurt Vile and the Violators, Kurt Vile has come a long way from his Philadelphia beginnings.

With seven studio albums and a collaboration with sensation Courtney Barnett, Vile has been on a roll since his departure from War on Drugs in 2008.

Vile’s latest release, “Bottle It In” is a laid-back venture into the scattered mind of Vile journeying through his simplistic means of storytelling and out-of-the-ordinary musical aura that is unlike any artist in the industry today, Oct. 12.

The album is split into two illustrating two polar-opposite sides of Vile: the carefree hippie that has everything figured out and the lonesome, terrified young man that has fears and regrets.

That being said, “Bottle It In” is like the experience of a 16th birthday with euphoria overtaking the beginning and as the come-down ensues, self-realization and depression become more relevant and predominant than the joy that was there before.

The first six tracks on the album illustrate Vile’s free-minded and free-spirited side to this trip through himself. The second track on the LP “Hysteria,” portrays the ideas of moving forward and that life brings unexpected love and happiness incomparable to anything.

“Don’t you know I never knew you/But I, but I think I love you, girl, and/What’s your name boy?/You know the devil’s in the details/Like, mm girl you gave me rabies/And I don’t mean maybe/I took a drink of head dream smoothie/All of a sudden I’m feeling very loopy/Don’t you know I really love you now”

The 10-minute frizzy and above-all scatter-minded “Bassackwards” is exactly as its title sounds: confusing and with an attached instrumental reverse as if a vinyl was played backwards with the intent of finding some hidden meaning.

It sets the tone for the song that seems to be searching for itself through its entire runtime.

“I was on the moon, but more so, I was in the grass/So I was chilling out, but with a very drifting mind/So I was on the ground circa planet Earth/But outta sorts, but I snapped back, baby/Just in time to jot it down and come around/It’s always nice to see you/And I came around/It’s always nice to see you here when I come around/Or when I’m plain come, comin’ down”

“Yeah Bones,” “One Trick Ponies” and “Rollin’ With the Flow” bring out Vile’s worry-free point-of-view and anthem-like songwriting that borrow influence from Tom Petty and Neil Young.

The remaining eight tracks take an unexpected dark and mournful shift in tone that exposes Vile’s vulnerabilities and insecurities through his undeniable self-truth.

It’s as if Vile has turned from the laidback hippie into a self-realizing pessimist. Checking himself and his surroundings, Vile re-analyzes thoughts previously stated in the first six tracks.

The shift begins with “Check Baby,” a complete change in mood and style as the light guitar strums and joy-infused synth is switched out for guitar chords encompassed by sadness and overall distrust and disbelief of himself and the world around him.

“Check baby, check baby, all day round I was very lost but now I’m way unfound/Check brother, check brother check, what a world we’ve inherited from another brother/What a whale of a pickle, what a spell we are all pinned under/We give the devil a warm embrace and then we run like chickens from the Dickens/But you wanna go to heaven when you D-I-E that’s alright with me/It’s easy like four, five, six, anybody got a pick, alright”

The strongest track on the album lyrically is “Mutinies” as it takes an introspective and more self-actualized look into Vile’s mind. With a revealing combination of chords, synth-infused violin and an outro that takes influence from Petty and The Velvet Underground, “Mutinies” carries all the components of a sad-rock anthem.

“The mutinies in my head keep staying/I take pills to try and make ‘em go away/Small computer in my hand explodin’/I think things were way easier with a regular telephone and/Impunity and disillusionment/I guess we see now just how far that went/Jupiter and Saturn/Think I’m noticing a pattern”

At a glance, “Bottle It In” is repetitive and lazy with little to no creative progression through each song and almost a complete lack of a bridge within each track.

But with a second visit and a true listen, the LP is a feat in free-minded art and creativity as it exemplifies total freedom from one mind all while appealing to a wide range of individuals.

Although “Bottle It In” is repetitive musically and unnecessarily long at times, Vile realizes himself (even referencing his love for repetition on “One Trick Ponies”) and overtly accepts his flower-child style that best suits his musical talent.