Bryan Behrenshausen's public notebook. Updated irregularly.
(Originally published in Private Suite magazine, issue 10)
“Tell me that you’ll always stay,” begs a narrator in the opening track of this bittersweet tapestry. That pleading tone is incessant in Memphis by Trademarks & Copyrights, a poignant, six-track elegy to the end of summer from classic-style mainstay Trademarks & Copyrights. Fall means change, and for Memphis’ besotted balladeers, two lovers blindsided by the onset of greyer days, that means encroaching ambiguity, doubt, and fear.
Those days are growing shorter, their nights bitter, and the flings and dalliances so simple and effortless in sunnier times are suddenly much more complicated—and uncertain—than they seemed when the convertible’s top was down. Memphis is a fretful album. Its lyrics are full of questions that were never really necessary by the poolside, never really salient through the saline: “Will you still be here tomorrow?” “Why can’t we just get along?”
Once again, Trademarks & Copyrights demonstrates mastery in conjuring bearskin rugs and touches of bubbly, as synth-heavy chrouses, sultry bass licks, and soulful vocals depict a couple desperate to work it out. We can only listen to the montage as the cracks in their relationship begin to form. “We’re gonna make it if we try,” assures one as he slowly wraps his arm around two hunched, sweatered shoulders. “We’re gonna make it, you and I.” The cork pops, but all that flows is anxiety. “Why can’t we just get along?” another wonders as the white Lamborghini cruises down the boulevard in late-afternoon dusk, going nowhere, whisking up yellow and orange eddies that swirl onto the curb.
It’s a pensive release from Trademarks & Copyrights, so don’t expect to be bopping under your headphones. Stare into the early-season fireplace instead, squint to give the scene that softened frame, and try to imagine a path forward for these hopeless, hapless, helpless lovers. For maximum effect, play the artist’s preceding release, Summer Love, just before popping Memphis into the deck. You’ll cascade into the same liminal space that has these two so disquieted—that perfect passage from clear to cloudy. If summer’s heat is what ignites fiery passions, then fall’s crisp pallor is their first true test. With Memphis, Trademarks & Copyrights depicts it all beautifully.
# December 28, 2019