I’ve dragged this blog to some pretty dark places as we move toward the end. The possible end of Hejjy and my relationship, which I had rather naively and foolishly pitted so much of my happiness on, hit me hard. I hadn’t previously realised to what extent I’d subconsciously done until it was potentially pulled away. I quickly realised that I’d actually based all of my future dreams, centred every situation I imagine myself in, around Hejjy and the threat of her being removed from all of these fantasies meant my head was forced to furiously remove chairs and make new plans like WWE when Roman Reign’s leukaemia sidelined him. Everything I knew was wrong, suddenly I had nothing to look forward to. Life suddenly became completely pointless. And I still had to finish this fucking list that nobody reads!! Then, this morning I got up and opened the curtains.
It’s a sunny day. I get to listen to the lovely Let’s Eat Grandma record. Even the fact that they are no longer my band didn’t hurt that bad. Then, as I make dinner, I put the genius second record by Tove Styrke on my headphones and… danced around the flat in the sunshine.
The effects of great pop music can be dismissed as simplistic and mawkish, as the worst kind of pop psychology. I don’t care. Sometimes it’s very real. Playing ‘Sway’ made me feel better about my life. Made me feel better about myself. I realised it’s actually been doing that all year, and any feelings of depression or dismay that occasionally overwhelm me are probably the result of it being far too long since I spent 26 minutes embraced by Ms Styrke. Science be damned, this album might be the greatest antidepressant out there.
This is because ‘Sway’ is an utterly perfect pop album. There simply aren’t any smears on the wonderful writing and production, and it’s edited to perfection to ensure absolutely no fat. Tove Styrke is sometimes referred to as ‘alt-pop’, which I think is shorthand for ‘pop music that don’t sell shit’, but there’s nothing ‘alt’ about the pop here. It’s absolutely, first rate, state of the art fucking pop music, and in a perfect world Tove would be as big as her quality demands.
Seeing Tove Styrke live at Night and Day in October was… a weirdly chastening experience… Not because of Ms. Styrke herself, of course, she was absolutely amazing and I can’t recommend seeing her enough, a real chance to see a stadium quality pop star in rooms so small you wouldn’t even want to keep kidnapped enemy soldiers in them. In the crowd of maybe 50 people, I got talking to a fun woman from Rochdale who was probably actually age appropriate for me. Now, I go to gigs alone, and I’m always kinda hoping that I’ll meet a woman there, as it’s pretty much the only time a dull old non-drinker like myself leaves the house. It’s not that creepy, I only really see anything I do through the prism of whether it’ll get me laid, so doing it at gigs too isn’t that weird, is it?? Guys…? At the Young Fathers gig earlier in the year I’d actually had an incredibly attractive woman talk to me and blown it badly by stuttering my way through a joke she didn’t get, so I had improved my game somewhat. We were having a fun enough time, until a younger and more handsome chap appeared on her left to subconsciously inform her that she could do way better than me. She then ignored me. That was pretty blowing to the old self-confidence. Then Tove Styrke came onstage. She was wearing a low cut top and hot pants. I don’t want to sound like the horrible old creep that I am, but Tove Styrke is subjectively an incredibly beautiful woman, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen abs as good as hers this side of Finn Balor. I don’t know if this is normal, but I began to feel very awkward as a single man in that crowd. Styrke is a very sexual performer when the mood of the song suits it, and I suddenly became aware of how much the crowd nearer the stage was made up of single older men. I noticed a woman in front of me hold her camera up to take a picture that was obviously intended to look like a selfie and not raise my suspicions, but then she showed it to her friend and zoomed in on my face to point me out. It has killed me to this freaking day wondering what the reason she pointed me out was. Was I the creepiest and dodgiest guy there?? Surely not!! Please, if you’re reading this and you were the one who took that picture, please tell me why!! It’s tearing me apart! The gig was fantastic though, and had the novel feel of a crowd hoping she didn’t play too many of her older songs and rather concentrated on the huge artistic leap that was the new album.
What did I tell you? Absolutely no flab. Succinct. Perfect.
Five!? That’s fucking ridiculous