Moses Sumney Makes My Nose’s Bum Wee
Music journalism is such bullshit, isn’t it?
I mean, sure, write an incisive piece of what the success of From Earth With Love unexpectedly meant for the people of Lappeenranta, Finland in 1997. That probably comes close enough to proper journalism for the other writers at your office not to laugh at you and flick bogeys at you when you’re trying to eat your dinner.
Or maybe just write gushing pieces about how The Rolling Stones used to make 14 year old groupies eat their own faeces while they pissed on them and hi-fived, before pushing the young groupie so hard against the floor that she couldn’t breathe- choking in the mixture of piss, shit and blood from her nose that broke in the collision with the floor- and then all did lines of cocaine off her back. God, there used to be proper rock stars back in the day, didn’t they?? How often do you think frickin’ Twenty One Pilots do that?? The pussies wouldn’t have the stomachs! I mean, that groupie almost definitely didn’t die, did she?
You can only interview bands that you think are great and that we’d enjoy listening to. Perhaps their story will put their music in sufficient context for us to properly appreciate the songs? Don’t interview a band you hate and tell them how shit they are: you are not Lestor Bangs blowing the fucking minds off some sheltered faux superstars, blinded by the shining of the walls of their ivory towers, you’re just a prick who’s really irritating Snow Patrol. These artists are clever enough to understand how life isn’t a zero sum game, they are aware that some people don’t like their music, but they’ve decided to cater to those that do, those that have been throwing money at the band for years, people who had their first wedding dance to Chasing Cars.
Yes, these people are fucking idiots, but part of growing up is recognising that telling idiots that they’re idiots is not an honourable pursuit. However, me telling you that you’re a pathetic edgelord dingus is entirely necessary.
And reviewing music?? What the hell is that??
You can review movies. You can go and see a film and then tell people that ‘this is good because some person did a thing, then another thing which I wasn’t expecting’. You can review books, because you can imagine how well it would work as a movie and spend 800 or so words fantasy casting all the characters. The person would read your review of ‘Hardness Accelerates’ and thing “Gee, I would really love to read a book where the lead character could conceivably be played by John Turturro: he’s good in everything!”
(Unless you’re reviewing a book by a woman, in which case you dismiss it immediately as ‘chick lit’. I mean, you can try and get away with it for a bit, but reviewers will eventually find you out. Elizabeth Gilbert cleverly avoided it by giving her books macho names like ‘Stern Man‘ and ‘The Last American Man‘ and ‘Throbbing Men and Their Swinging Appendages‘ but once she went all pussy wet with ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ she was immediately outed as having an actual vagina and therefore unfit to produce legitimate literature. Christ, that was a close one, wasn’t it fellas? Here’s us praising her blokey bollocks books, and she just chucks out one about unicorns and periods and shit! Probably. Never read it, obviously, I’m not a homo. But I digress)
‘Reviewing’ music though, is impossible. You simply cannot properly articulate an art form that is so designed to awaken primal pleasures. You can say you like it because of the lyrics, though you wouldn’t be caught dead at a poetry event. Reviewing a dance album you can say a banging choon ‘evokes the emptiness of our tech obsessed culture’ when all it frickin’ ‘evokes’ is a guy pushing a button on a machine somewhere and going “Oooooooh! I like that tempo!”
You can say that it sounds refreshingly new, but what makes something refreshingly new? Why wasn’t Johnny Borrel’s 2015 album of him recording the sounds of his burps in a bucket refreshingly new? And everything’s new, you fucking idiot! It may be derivative, but it’s new! It’s here! It’s now! And sometimes we all decide that, actually, we love derivative music, and proclaim The Strokes or Oasis the saviours of rock n’roll! Why does rock n’roll always need saving anyway?? Why would it be such a fucking shame if rock n’roll just died? Do you want more rock n’roll?? You’ve got plenty of it!
You can place the album in it’s context. You can talk about Donald Trump again because apparently every song now is actually about Donald Trump. You can talk about how the album is so obviously the artist’s attempt to comment on imprisoned Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, or their worries for the durian farmers of Eastern Thailand, or their dismay over the booking of Bret Hart in WCW in the late 90s. Based on what? Based on nothing! You don’t need proof, you need a word count!
I saw the Pitchfork review started with “The debut album from Moses Sumney is a soulful, cosmic embrace of aloneness. His deep blue songwriting examines the blasé cruelty that defines intimacy in our swipe-left era” and just got triggered. It’s the reason I made the title of this piece as inane as possible.
And not just by the horrendous phrase ‘swipe-left-era’. Presumably referencing how we now live in an area where people can look at people and decide they don’t find them sexually attractive. Sorry, but I grew up ugly in the 90s and there was still plenty of ‘swiping left’ going on back then.
Music is an aural pleasure (or grow up!) that is impossible to describe in words. It’d be like trying to explain how nice your dinner was last night by putting up a shelf. You can explain what music is, you can tell us how tall the singer is, but you can never explain why it’s good. It’s also an art form that’s enjoyed so much more personally than any other, and if you expect your review to be for mass consumption you can’t well just write how Deathgrips* latest reminds you of the anguish you went through when you realised the waitress at Wimpeys in 1996 was just being nice to you because it’s her job and not because your love was requited. All music reviews should be four words long: “It makes me [VERB]”. You can earn your salary by choosing the verb. You should never have to explain it.
Because you can’t.
There are simply too many layers of upbringing, past trauma, past hope, secret desires (always shagging your mum. Not my mum your mum) that play a part in the music you like. You’re not a psychologist. You’re a fucking music journalist.
I mean, how would one review an album as indefinably gorgeous as Moses Sumney’s debut?
I particularly like that bit in Self-Help Tape where he goes “bay-um-wum-bay-um, bay-um-wum-bay-um”
Not convinced? We just listen to the dang record then! Come on! You already know it’s brilliant! You already know it’s beautiful! Me trying to describe how wonderful it is is like me describing my last LSD trip and expecting you to be convinced of its benefits! You just have to experience these things for yourself!
By the way: I am not ‘reviewing’ these albums, I am simply collating their scientific scores for scientific record. I am a musical advocate, perhaps, but not a journalist
Age: 27 (+0)
Remember, I explained how artists would no longer be penalised for such things: you’re looking at the real deal now
Album Number: 1
Album Length: 34 minutes (+24)
shit’s doubled now, don’t forget
Very Good Songs: 2 (+8)
Brilliant Songs: 7 (+70)
AMAZING Songs: 1 (+20)
% of Album Worthwhile: 100
Ew, gross! Guy’s got no head *swipes left*
Previous Entries: NONE
Meta Critic: 85
*they’re never making the list, Christopher, never!!