Someone needs to do us all a favor and teach Mike Kinsella about poetry. The Joan of Arc drummer (and brother of Joan of Arc's Tim Kinsella) can write some startlingly beautiful songs, but lyrically, they read like pages from a bored hipster's diary: "Free beer and basement shows don't mean you've made it," sings Kinsella in a strangely sexy, hesitating voice on "Bad News." "It's what you do. Not who you were, or what you wear, or where you've been." An acoustic guitar drizzles in the background; an electric guitar holds a sad melody, and it would all be so much better if the central sentiment of the song weren't "You're a has-been that never was." Couldn't Kinsella sing about something a little more profound?
"The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi" has guitars that layer over each other and strings that escalate on the chorus, but among the beauty is the line, "Spoiled sick like milk you let sit too long." The kinds of problems Kinsella sings about--sleeping on floors while on tour, selling Vicodin to other bands staying at his house--are so trite that when he sings about being raised by "angels and addicts," it just sounds like more whining.
The worst part about At Home With Own, Kinsella's fifth solo record as Owen, is that despite its abysmal lyrics, the music draws you in. You find yourself listening to the bad poetry all over again, wondering why he can't just sing in a made-up language or something.