Has God Seen My Shadow? An Anthology 1989-2011 - LIGHT IN THE ATTIC
FILTER Grade: 85%
By Kurt Orzeck on February 14, 2014
It is tragic to know that the more one considers life, the more susceptible they are to being defeated by it—even if there is that faint everlasting hope of rising again. Mark Lanegan is a man obsessed with his own inevitable and repeated demise, but whose heart is so large that it anchors him to life. He is one of contemporary music’s greatest existentialists and romantics, who bares his soul through an immortal, raspy voice that is as recognizable as it is ethereal. Anthology is a chronicle of recovery—not just from his struggles with drugs and alcohol, as have been well documented, but from fame as well. Lanegan’s career is an inversion of sorts: He achieved fame early on in his career, and ever since the Screaming Trees broke up in 2000— without later jumping aboard the reunion bandwagon, as most other bands of their era have—he has haunted rock and roll like a ghost, as Has God Seen My Shadow? suggests. Mirroring the lack of linearity in Lanegan’s career is the contrarian approach to this collection, which starts with a song from his sixth solo album (“Bombed”) and ends with a tune from his second effort (“The River Rise”). Well, ends the first disc, at least; his devotees will probably skip through that side to dig into the 12 additional tracks featuring Josh Homme, PJ Harvey and J Mascis, all seeing the light of day for the first time. Especially striking, listening to these Lanegan selections all in a row, are the recurring references to children. But it makes sense: While existential thoughts usually start with an examination of the end, they tend to conclude at the beginning. “You can’t kill what’s already dead,” he croons on disc one’s penultimate track, “Mockingbirds.” Damn straight. Long live Lanegan.