It's not kiwi, but it's one of my favorites. Hearing someone slight this record recently was like hearing an attack on an old friend.
Bathed in ambient warmth, You Turn Me On is classic Beat Happening—pure, minimalist fury, driving percussion, and laconic drone—but in panoramic Technicolor. Draping their distinctly adult tales of lust, love, and rejection in the gauzy language of adolescence, the innocence of Beat Happening’s approach is belied by the bittersweet knowledge that such blissful idyll is fleeting. The childlike retreat to the comforting and the familiar is a futile pursuit, but it is often the only language that is available to us. Nakedly emotional and rooted in the present, You Turn Me On is Beat Happening’s most honest record. From the opening strains of “Tiger Trap” to the closing chimes of “Bury the Hammer,” the album is an extraordinary coda to a career of conceptual and lyrical delights. Though its predecessors’ rinky-dink, schoolyard charms were a key aspect of Beat Happening’s sound, the more polished affair of You Turn Me On does not lessen the impact of its songs but rather confirms what had always been clear: in terms of lyrical and melodic prowess, Beat Happening was a cut above the like-minded crop of awkward, cardigan-clad bands that appeared in their wake. The limitations of their sound were never reflected in the strength of their material. On You Turn Me On, the digital effects suit the songs. It is difficult to imagine the lullaby drone of “Godsend” without the sweetly lilting guitar harmonies that blend and swoon together in a transcendent evocation of idealized love. Heather represented the pulsing, human heart at the center of Beat Happening, offering a sweet contrast to Calvin’s guttural food-sex-death metaphors and B-movie diversions, and ”Godsend” is the album’s centerpiece. You Turn Me On is full of such moments, a beautiful and resigned farewell from one of the era’s greatest bands. Heather, Calvin, and Bret: thank you. - Ariel