...and where it got us.
I kept hearing Michael Stipe's voice in a good REM song from a mediocre REM album. Where indeed? Then, many years later, Peter Perrett's new single came out and I thought... well, if it got us here - who fucking cares.
In fact, I can't imagine an easier choice for an album of the month. And that's despite the fact that if I tried to conjure up a Peter Perrett album in June 2017, it would sound exactly like this. Confident yet vulnerable, beautiful songwriting all around. Just like it ever was.
Try telling me this record is worse than the Only Ones' famed debut (although maybe the timing was better) or Perrett's wildly underappreciated, criminally obscure solo album Woke Up Sticky from 1996 (I will argue that "Falling" is just as good as "Another Girl, Another Planet" if it kills you).
How The West Was Won is the sort of album I would love to be number one in France. From the black and white cover and down to the classic three-word chorus of "Take Me Home", this is pure art, style and intelligence. And, a few extended and masterful guitar solos aside (his two sons help him out there, instrumentally), the record is about songwriting.
God knows there was enough bitterness in Peter Perrett (money and glory, mostly) to make it bleed with a vengeance. The title song is powerful understated rock'n'roll. "Epic Story" is a beautifully honed love song with a timeless chorus. "Hard To Say No" is a striking nod to Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black". I haven't heard songs this good in quite a while.
Getting back to Michael Stipe for a second. It was never a question about where, was it? All along, it was a question about how. And 'God knows I love America' is the best answer I've heard.