Stop what you’re doing right now. R. Stevie Moore just released one of his best collection of songs, Afterlife, so what else were you going to spend that money on? What is there new to say about R. Stevie Moore that hasn’t already been said? Upon inspection of the liner notes, this new release is actually a compilation of recordings, one, the Moore-Lane Steinberg collaboration, “What Do I Do With The Rest Of My Life?” from 2004. The rest of the songs were all recorded in the early 2010s with the usual incredible supporting cast of Billy Anderson, Roger Ferguson, and the more recent addition to the R. Stevie universe, Jason Falkner.
Moore’s catalog is a music collector’s dream, and I was pleased to find a lot of new recordings of personal favorites on here, right alongside songs that instantly grabbed me.
Somewhere there is an alternate universe where R. Stevie Moore gets the respect he deserves as a songwriting genius, on par with Lennon and Nilsson. Moore’s chord progressions are always innovative. He never settles for taking a simple progression and writing a new melody on top. There’s always something very interesting going on with the guitar. Stevie always knocks it out of the park with vocals too. He’s one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists of the past 50 years.
Unlike many of Stevie’s home releases which contain some very great experimental material, Afterlife is a collection of his pure pop songs. Two personal favorites on here are my first favorite Moore song, “The Winner,” and my latest, “Here Comes Summer Again.” The former appeared originally on Returns and the latter on Swing And A Miss, both excellent releases themselves which I’d recommend purchasing on his Bandcamp.
I have to warn you if you’re new to Stevie’s music, it can get addicting. There’s so many albums, and for most people they wouldn’t know where to start. Though I can claim to essentially be a member of the 2019 iteration of the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club with all the releases I have, there’s still so many albums I have left to explore. That said, based off my limited knowledge, I would now include Afterlife with Phonography, Clack, and Glad Music as the first four R. Stevie albums you should listen to.
A review of Afterlife would be incomplete without mentioning Ariel Pink’s cameo lead vocals on the track, “Come My Way.” He sounds so different than his usual self that I thought it was Stevie at first. Their relationship is one of the great one’s in rock history, and I was lucky enough to hear House Arrest and Phonography the summer after I graduated high school. Both albums were game changers for me.
I can tell Afterlife is going to be a record I play a disturbing amount of times, and I’m okay with that. I would recommend Afterlife to any fan of rock music; there’s really something for everybody on here. 10/10.