Don't Call It a Comeback

He's been here for years, but few expected singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek to deliver such a rousing new album

But the lyrics are where we see Kozelek's biggest strides. Unlike the earnest but sentimental diary entries from songs past, the lines on Ghosts paint a more impressionistic picture, hinting at themes of nostalgia and the passing of time with a heretofore nonexistent composure. Compare the anxious, distraught lines of "24" above to those of "Glenn Tipton": "I put my feet up on the coffee table/ I stay up late, watching cable/ I like old movies with Clark Gable/ Just like my dad does/ Just like my dad did when he was home/ Staying up late/ Staying up alone/ Just like my dad did when he was thinking,/ 'How fast the years go by.'"

As Kozelek is quick to point out, the common thread is honesty -- an uncompromising desire to present his own, oftentimes excruciatingly personal, truth.

"Even though '24' is really embarrassing to listen to now," he says, "it was who I was then. That was my life: I was working at a hotel, at the front desk, and I was tripping out about my fucking future, 'cause I didn't go to college like everyone else. What if things didn't happen to me and this dream I had with music?"

Amanda Marsalis

Details

Look for a fully outfitted Sun Kil Moon appearance later this spring. In the meantime, Mark Kozelek performs his first solo show in San Francisco in almost two years on Thursday, Jan. 22

Mia Doi Todd opens at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $15

885-0750

www. musichallsf.com

Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F.

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