21 EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring

The Rejection of Comprehensive Reviews


Well, two out of three ain’t bad (I turned 34 after the song was released)

I’m not going to be able to give the next handful of albums the usual insightful and in depth  investigation that by this point you’ve come accustomed to.

You see, my previous entry intensely debating the artistic choices made on St Vincent‘s recent album was just so emotionally draining, that I worry that if I shake have head over my keyboard there simply won’t be enough viscous creativity juice left to pour out over my next few reviews.

Regardless: here is Emalina McFunnel Armitage with her third solo album. It’s brilliant, for many of the reasons I pointed out in my 2014 reaction to her previous record.

‘The Future’s Void’ was, if anything, far less of a joyous experience than its title suggested. It was an unrelenting scream for help from somebody being crushed by the 21st century’s all invasive computer culture. It was like a woman shouting for help as she is slowly and painfully crushed into 2 dimensions by her office’s malfunctioning photocopier. Only there’s nobody in the office to hear her! Because they’re all, like, doing the ice bucket challenge or something.


‘Exile in the Outer Ring’, amazingly, manages to tone the hopelessness up!

Or… Turn the hope down… Lessen the hope.. Increase the lack of ho… Fucking hell! English is REALLY hard!

While I imagine many people would have come to this album imagining the ‘Exile in the Outer Ring’ being a new dance craze that’s poised to sweep the nation. It sounds like the kind of dance that would involve a plentiful amount of point at one’s rear end, which is one of the 2 guaranteed ways to ensure a dance move truly gets over. The other option you have is frequent gestures to the genitals, which is what made Gangam Style such a hit.



What? What else do you think the dance is meant to be signifying?

Riding a horse?? Listen, all the best dance crazes percolate wider culture so well because they always have some base in reality: ‘The Bump’ involved a lot of literal bumping; ‘The Chicken Walk’ involved walking like a frickin’ chicken; the ‘Whoopsie Daisie Jennifer’ involved ‘accidentally sexually assaulting your dance partner who inveriably had to named ‘Jennifer’ (or ‘Jenny’ of ‘Gemma’ or ‘Jemima’, there was always room for a little individuality: this was 1970s Britain, not Nazi Germany); and the ‘Hustle’ involved illiciting illegal substances from everyone in the room, often forcibly. But you want me to believe you’re riding a horse on the dancefloor?? You’ve immediately taken me out of the moment and we humans can only suspend disbelief so much


No, what the dance is actually trying to portray is roughly and forcibly thrusting someone else’s face into your genitals, presumably in demand on some sort of oral pleasuring.

Yet, this was as recently as 2012!! Yet more proof how necessary the #MeToo movement was. Yet Psy’s interpreation of oral molestation was so well received he voted in as South Korean president just 8 months later.

Or was he?? You don’t actually fucking know, do you? Don’t check if he did, because that actually makes you worse.

That video has 3.1 billion views. To put that in perspective, it’s more than double the amount of people who visited this blog all last year!!

Where was i? Ah yes: the album.

It’s a far darker record than a predecessor that was already blacker than the inside of a cat; it’s far less listener friendly and accessible than that record, which was hardly Ed Sheeren; and, most starkly, it’s a far more nihilistic offering.


(Future’s the king of narcissism. It’s… it’s kind of a running joke… I dunno)

 Music- and everyone– is so bloody nihilistic in 2017 aren’t they? There’s King of Nihilism, Future up there, there’s Lil Peep just wanting to take so much drugs he fades away (which… I mean… yknow…), Lil Yachty gleefully announcing how few things are worth caring about and how little he’d care anyway; And So I Watch You From Afar, Andrew Bird, Ital Tek and Blanck Mass are so nihilistic they literally don’t even say anything; and the opening track on Taylor Swift’s album is called Nothing Has Any Real Existence, Fuck Your Fabricated Moral System and Choke to Death on Your Laughable Principles. I mean, it’s a bit of a banging tune, so maybe she’s using the facets of nihilism ironically, but still.

I’m no fan of nihilism. I mean, say what you will about the


I’m not a fan of nihilism. In fact, I would confidently state that it’s a stupid philosophy for idiots who smell of farts.


I understand how the world in (kayfabe) 2017 is a depressing, dispiriting, and all too often enraging reality in which to have the misfortune to exist inside.

I would, however, argue that- literally and across all society- the world is actually getting significantly better by every conceivable metric outside of politics. Death rates are going down, infant deaths in particular are shrinking, more people are literate and far less wars are taking place. 10.7 percent of the world’s population lived on less than US$1.90 a day, compared to 12.4 percent in 2012. That’s down from 35 percent in 1990. Nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990. This isn’t because of politics, this is because of science.

The world might seem worse than it ever was, but that’s only because of us being more aware of the outside world than we ever were before (because of science). When we hear of the atrocities being committed against the Rohingya people in Myanmar we should be weirdly grateful that we have the access and information we do to know so much about it*. I mean, when all of us were nodding our bucket hats along to Hey Now at Knebworth in 1996, we weren’t worried by the fact that on that very same day General K’hod was ordering the slaughter of more than 3’000 innocent Micronesian civilians in a brutal coup.

I mean, did I make that up? There’s honestly no way of knowing: this was 1996! We were just wondering if they’d play Acquiesce .

But yeah, you don’t like your president, people voted Brexit, people are on their phone all the time, nobody talks on the tube, the Oculus Rift still isn’t as big a thing as you imagined when you put in on your album cover (kayfabe) three years ago- I get it!



But, seriously though folks, other people’s happiness should bear no relevance to your own comfort of identity. People are often sad (see my last novel length entry), people are often confused, people are all too often disengaged and disconnected.

But the answer isn’t to support nothingness, it’s to support the resistance of the things that you find deplorable. There’s a lot of nastiness out there, but none of it is invincible. Listen, I know it’s not that easy, but trust me: as a man who has attempted suicide more times than you’ve visited Latvia (that’s an educated estimate), it’s so much more mentally and emotionally satisfying to believe that you’re somehow involved in the struggle against the nasty things.

Hey, why not start by donating to the Manchester Refugee Support Network??


This album is an absolutely amazing achievement: it starts off with such a barren and hopeless view of the world (‘We’re abitary/We’re temporary‘) and yet still manages to craft from such morose beginnings moments of absolute and utter wonder. I sincerely love it


Soooooooo… this entry started. It then went somewhere. It then went to a different place. And now it is ending. This entry has been a bit like jazz, hasn’t it? In that it lacked any direction or underlying message, and was only really enjoyable for the person making it. I have written non stop for eight hours today. Good night (and good luck)



Age: 35 (+1)

Album Number: 3 (+9)

Album Length: 41 minutes (+5)

Very Good Songs: 3 (+6)

Brilliant Songs: 8 (+40)

AMAZING Songs: 0

% of Album Worthwhile:100




I honestly, legitimately, believe that EMA is the coolest person in the world. This cover very nicely just shows how…

fucking cool she us, y’know??


Previous Entries: 2014 No.24


Meta Critic: 80

Jesus, every thing just gets ‘eighty’, doesn’t it? Critics are so dull!! Acquiesce though… that was a really good song, wasn’t it?





*My brother’s friend hosted a charity auction to help the Rohingya victims, to which Mizdow himself had donated some things from around the house. I attended the event (making sure to wear my MRSN t-shirt to represent Manchester Refugee Support Network) and noticed that one of the items Mizdow had donated was a board game that I had bought from a charity shop for £1 and was intending to give it to Dad as a birthday present. They were charging £5 for it, so I bought it back.

If the sad situation in Myanmar ever improves, it will be- not entirely– but mostly down to the £5 I donated that day.

I also paid £1 for a woman to apply a fucking fake tattoo. Like, one of those ones you have to wet the back of to stick on. What are they called? My generosity knows no bounds


This entry… Is one of my favourite ‘things’ I’ve ever written…

5 thoughts on “21 EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring

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