Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Tunes from the leather couch

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Bill "Smog" Callahan’s records have always been an analyst’s feast, full of deep-seated guilt for being human and the inevitable psychosexual frustration which follows. It’s no wonder he turns away from audiences when he performs; it isn’t easy to look people in the face when you’re telling your darkest secrets, even if they come in a form no meatier than pencil sketches. Bill Smog draws an uncanny amount of emotion out of his minimal guitar playing and slow dragging vocals – all part of the tour inside the brilliant introvert.

While the self-imposed creative womb may get tedious at times, it never fails to be interesting. And if you’ve been following along for a few records, the closest thing ever to a Smog love song, "Held," just might make this whole CD worthwhile. "For the first time in my life/ I let myself be held, like a big old baby/ I surrendered to your Charity." Remember, this is the same guy who, just a few years ago, brought us the line: "Ever girl I’ve ever loved wanted to be hit."

Of course, his signature hesitation and cynicism are alive and well, exploring and paralleling the contradictions of grotesqueness in beauty, lies behind truth, etc. And this process goes on till surrendering to the ridiculous realities of life and kicking against them become indistinguishable: "If there were something so hard and clear/ it would have been bought and sold long ago/ Please know this/ If someone offers you some sugar/ You should eat it" ("Sweet Treat").

Consume with caution.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Norene Cashen

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation