“Here me/Hear me cry out/Everything is weird in/America”
America is a different country from Britain. Like, completely different: it has its own laws and everything, and is entirely full of people who are very different from the people in the UK. Not only is there a lot more of them but, let’s face it, a lot of them are probably a lot fatter, so their combined weight of humanity would be so much more that it would render Britain’s almost inconsequential.
They have their own history and their own culture. Their schools place emphasis on the learning of different things (such as the works of John Couger Mellencamp) and they have a far greater choice of fast food outlets, all with adorable names such as ‘Ribbling Rusty’ and ‘Janet’s Misdirections’ and ‘Big and Dead’ and ‘Out the In Door’. Massively different personal traits are more highly valued: in Britain the most highly valued are the ability to queue patiently and the ability to keep quiet the insufferable emotional pain your bearing, while in America (as I understand it) they value the ability to jet ski and win bar room bets over arm wrestling. Yes, to a British person their customs and way of living may seem weird, but that’s simply how differences work and are processed.
Here are a few other countries that aren’t Britain:
There’s probably a few more, but those are the main ones.
Each and every country is at least as weird when seen through British eyes (and often far, far weirder: there’s loads of them countries that dress up and dance all the time, aren’t there? I mean WTF???) as America is. Yet, you never get songs about how weird St Kitts and Nevis is, or how freaked out the singer was by their visit to Belgium. Firstly, I think the fact that the USA is seen as being a majority white and English speaking country (both of which are debatable) means that it’s a pleasant and acceptable punching bag upon which to release a lot of that pent up racism* that we as a species are currently in the slow and arduous process of attempting to irradiate.
Secondly: I think that a lot of people just straight up think of the USA as being part of Britain: they kind of look the same, they kind of speak the same (like, with a funny accent, but no worse than the Scottish), and they seem to adopt a lot of the same cultures and practices that Britain has stolen from them. We’re brought up watching American television and American pornography: we integrate so many facets of American culture into our construction that it comes as quite a jolt to recognise how there’s actually a completely different country over there! We think of America in the same way we do Bristol: funny accents but presumably much the same as the rest of country. Then one day you go to Bristol** and find out that actually limb amputation is a legal way to settle arguments there so everybody carries samurai swords, and for some reason they really like music you had already long considered accepted as awful, like Embrace.
“What’s going on?? I thought you were the same as the rest of us!!”
Christ, this has definitely been one of my weaker entries, hasn’t it?
Regardless: ‘The Age of Anxiety’ is a brilliant album. A pop masterclass that is not just unafraid of exhibiting a little oddity here and there, it recognises how great pop music can be when it fully embraces its loopiness and layers as many cow bells and dog whistles into the production as possible. Pixx is never less than utterly conscious that it’s art she’s making here, but is fully aware how closely entwined Big Art and Big Pop should be. On top of that she performs each song with an absolutely riveting intensity that much pop- especially when made by the more ‘arty’ types- too often lacks.
Age: 21 (-13)
Album Length: 45 minutes (+1)
I was surprised it’s that long, as it feels a lot shorter, so I’m chucking Pixx and extra +10 #ChuckPixx
Very Good Songs: 5 (+10)
Brilliant Songs: 6 (+30)
AMAZING Songs: 0
% of Album Worthwhile: 91.6666667
I don’t hate it, and appreciate the attempted visualisations of one’s ever threatening anxieties, but it does look a bit like somebody had to create a 3D picture on the computer for some art class’s homework
Previous Entries: NONE
Meta Critic: 79
WH Auden Points: +70
We should be celebrating a 21 year old woman naming her album after a 1947 WH Auden poem, so she can have a point for every year since it was first released
*I believe that each and every person holds within them at least a degree of natural racism, an ugly hangover from an early point in our evolution where everyone who doesn’t look like a member of your particular tribe should be treated with great suspicion, and life in 2018 is actually more about recognising subconcious impulses and managing them properly. I wrote about it in last year’s Jamila review
**Hypothetical: nobody’s ever going to Bristol***
***I’ve been to Bristol, it’s a very nice place