[midlife 150] #130: songs: ohia/magnolia electric co. “i’ve been riding with the ghost”

May 8, 2010

#130 I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost by Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. (taken from Magnolia Electric Co., 2003)

It’s not completely clear whether this Steve Albini-produced album was the last Songs: Ohia release, or the first Magnolia Electric Co. one. The fact that musically it sits perfectly between these two incarnations of Jason Molina means it probably doesn’t matter.

I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost partly makes this list to reflect the astonishing consistency in quality across Molina’s output over the past 15 years. It also makes it on its own merit, of course, but I confess I haven’t immersed myself in his catalogue enough to definitively pinpoint it as his best.

The song could have been a stand-out Neil Young & Crazy Horse release had it been recorded 30 years earlier, though lyrically it is entirely personal to Molina: “I’ve been busy trying to make a change. And now I’ve made a change” he sings, perhaps in reference in to his transition from his ‘Songs’ to his ‘Magnolia’ identity.

I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost is heartfelt and defiant country rock with the power to inspire recovery from when “every night pain comes from a different place”. Now something’s got to change.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.

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