6: John Grant: Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

John Grant is absolutely one of the finest things in the world, I love him more than that sculpture of John Goodman that I sculpted out of discarded peanut husks that I keep next to my bed so that I can lick it last thing at night for good luck. The consistent quality of his three albums to date is astonishing, and ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’ (a combination of the literal English translations of the Icelandic for ‘mid life crisis’ and the Turkish for ‘nightmare’. John Grant is a bit of a polyglot, so why not show off a little here and there?) is just another one that at least enters into the argument of being his very best. What is beyond argument though is that Grant is absolutely the greatest lyricist working today, something he proves again and again and again (and again) here. If you entered the album unsure you would be confronted with the only artist in the world who would open an album (after a layered vocal quote a line from Corinthians 13) with the killer line “I did not think I was/The one being addressed/In haemorrhoid commercials/On the TV set” before the gorgeous and previously extremely radio friendly title track concerned with the importance of avoiding self-pity in the wake of his HIV diagnosis comes together masterfully with a chorus of “And there are children who have cancer/And so all bets are off/Cause I can’t compete with that”. To be honest, I’d be quite happy to spend many thousands of words here just picking out and highlighting my particular favourite lyrics, though I think that Courtney Barrett’s (who Grant outshines a thousandfold as a lyricist) album showed previously that a great way with words isn’t enough to propel an album to greatness. Thankfully the music on ‘Grey…’ is equally as magnificence and breathtaking, jumping from a different genre in each track though never sounding detached as Grant’s considerable presence always binds the songs together. Though as on his previous album the pure electronica such as ‘Snug Slacks‘ fails to work quite as well, it still serves as a great stage for the magnificence of his perhaps under-appreciated voice. At the end of the day Adele needs to have words with John Grant if she wants to learn a different yet no less emotionally affecting way to convey heartbreak.

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‘Fun’ Fact: This still isn’t quite his best album, as it lacks a chorus quite as magnificent as ‘GMF

Polyglot? What difference does it make how many wives he has? You idiot, you’re getting mixed up with a polytheist. Or is it a polygon? Listen to ‘Down Herewhile I try and think

Album Link

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