Best of 2004: #2 -- Jim White Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See
The first Jim White album I ever heard was 2001's No Such Place, which had a couple of really good songs, but was an otherwise uneven effort that left me wanting more. Based on that experience, I was not planning on buying his latest album, Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See. But a few months after its release, I decided to give it a listen during a free trial to Real Rhapsody, mainly as background music for a late night at the office. It quickly leapt from the background with "Static on the Radio," a spooky duet with Aimee Mann, and remained at the forefront for the entirety of the album.
White brilliantly fuses folk with funk throughout Drill a Hole..., especially on standout tracks "Combing My Hair in a Brand-New Style" and "If Jesus Drove a Motor Home," both of which are among my favorite songs released this year. And his versatility shines through on the gorgeous ballad, "That Girl from Brownsville, Texas," a touching waltz that you won't be able to get out of your head for quite some time. More than almost any other album this year, this one continues to get better with each listen. As the title suggests, even more layers are revealed the further down you drill.