4 alt-J: Relaxer

Album of the Rising Interest

01

Are you an ‘early adopter’?

By which I mean: when you adopt children, do you tend to do so when they’re younger? I would definitely recommend doing so: of the seven children I’ve ‘adopted’* the ones that were easier to deal with were the babies. I mean, seriously, those little things never ask for anything! Although I suppose, slightly ironically, if they could talk they might be able to let me know where they’ve disappeared to: I’ve not seen most of them since Christmas! I’m sure they’re fine though: Gradius is probably with them, he can walk and has probably learned English by now, so I’m not too concerned.

There’s also the secondary meaning of ‘early adopter’, meaning that you’re always into art, culture, gadgets and trends first. You had an iPhone before they were even invented; you were throwing pennies at Ed Sheeran as he was busking on the streets of Framlingham, hating him with a passion way before it was cool; you practically invented ‘Fortnite’, and could easily make a smart joke here because you’re 100% sure what ‘Fortnite’ is; you have a Smart fridge, a Smart Toaster, a Smart Toilet and a Smart Colander. If it’s ever happened, if it’s happening, or if it’s going to happen: you’re there first. Being first is the best, isn’t it??

(Ed Sheeran was really born and raised in a place called fucking Framlingham?? He’s the biggest pop star in the world: how have we let this happen?)

Being last, though, is rubbish. When you’re the last person in the world to finally admit that ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ is a work of comedy genius to rank alongside ‘Annie Hall’ and the first season of ‘The Thick of It’, with all the problematic sexual connotations, it feels horrible. You’re finally admitting defeat, you’re accepting that everyone else in the world is right and you were wrong. This is almost impossible to do, as changing your mind is one of the most difficult thing to do as a human being. And if you do manage to achieve one of humanity’s most arduous tasks, you’ll be greeted with nothing but shame. Shaaaaaaame! You should always change your mind, blah blah blah, read all of my posts, I’ve literally covered everything before. I am very much ‘The Simpsons’ of blogging.

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How would you rank the stages of endorsement, from early to late?

Don’t answer that, I seriously don’t care how you would rank them, I’m going to do it:

  1. The best is definitely early adoption, isn’t it? Being into something first is just certified proof that you’re smarter than everyone else and it takes everyone else a little longer to reach your level
  2. Second best is being an early adopter of something that nobody else ever gets into. This is a little annoying that nobody else is intelligent enough to appreciate how brilliant Lupe Fiasco or ‘Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz‘ is, but is really just proof that other people are ridiculously slow to reach your level. It just sucks that nobody else appreciates this.
  3. Third best is never adopting something that everyone else loves. This is also proof that you’re more smarter than the general populace, but it ranks slightly lower because you’re likely to be bombarded with the shit thing you hate because everyone else is dumb enough to love it. Fuck you, Muse, for nearly ruining my college years. You’re so shit!!!!!!
  4. Then the next worse is realising that you like something way later than anyone else, that you are one of the slow people who are late to the gravy train. You never even had an opinion on it beforehand, that’s how slow you are, that’s how unconnected with culture you’ve become. Shaaaaaaaame!
  5. Next worse is if you explicitly announced how much you hated something, then changed your mind and decided you liked it. But, you still pretend to hate that thing for the rest of your life in order to save face. This is also a great humiliation, but at least nobody else knows about it. It’s nonetheless an overwhelming private disgrace that the wider world will only know about when you admit how great a song Time is Running Out is in your suicide note.
  6. And, of course, the worst is when you’ve spent years claiming something is terrible, taken on new information, shown the moral and mental strength to adjust your view and recalibrate your very person in order to accept its quality. This is one of the most honourable things a human can do. In terms of shame, though, it’s mildly less embarrassing than being caught masturbating in a Wetherspoon’s toilet over a crayon picture of Pepe the Frog.

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alt-J, for me, would be firmly in that fourth category. Their debut album, ‘An Awesome Wave’, won the 2012 Mercury Prize, at a time when I was in China not really listening to anything that wasn’t The Weeknd or Kanye West** (or, bizarrely, ‘Use Your Illusions II’: for about 2 years all I would listen to every morning was Civil War. I regret noting). I had no idea what they sounded like, and put them in the same bracket as The xx, who won the Mercury Prize in 2010. I always imagined they both played similarly dull muso wank, and ignored any further albums by them both, thinking that their ships had sailed past me and content to ignore them both for the rest of my life. Also: lower case letters in the names, whassat abaht??

Then I heard Jamie xx’s album, and my tiny mind was blown down to my socks, flinging them off in the process. I realised that The xx deserved a second chance. This also meant that, logically, I should listen to the next alt-J record.

The xx album was even duller than I imagined. It sounded like the music Alan Shearer’s washing machine would make as it tried to remove pastel paint stains from his white shirt’s collar. This alt-J album is fucking spectacular though. Because I said so.

What? That’s your lot. Listen to alt-J, they’re brilliant. How exactly do you want me to explain that?

Pricks…

Score

Age: ??????????

Nobody fucking knows!! Let’s saaaaaaaaaaaaaay… 100

+66

Album Number: 3 (+36)

Album Length: 38 minutes (+32)

Very Good Songs: 0

Brilliant Songs: 6 (+120)

AMAZING Songs: 2 (+80)

% of Album Worthwhile:100

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That’s… That’s a troubling image…

Cover:

00 (alexanderlpalmer@hotmail.co.uk).jpg

Are covers getting worse the higher we go? What the fuck is that?

+0

Previous Entries: None

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Meta Critic: 65

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Former Mercury Music Prize Winner: +200

Look, I’ve explained before, I just really respect that award. Sorry

Total: 2’199

https://alt-j.lnk.to/RelaxerWE

*Those kids you see in parks with no obvious parent present: they’re free, right? I have no issue adopting them, but I’d hate to one day receive a bill through the post! I’d be like: “Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!”, y’know?? High five

**Jesus, how amazing does Ri-Ri look in that video? She was absolutely spectacular with red hair. Also, y’know: tits

2 thoughts on “4 alt-J: Relaxer

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