#43 Jenny Hval: Classic Objects

My mother came to the city at 21
And had no choice but to drive to work
She said, “I cried in the car every day until I didn’t”
And when she had me, the midwife
Looked her in the eye and said, “Poor baby, you’re so scared”
I guess I was born anyway

American Coffee

I dunno, dudes, I’ve got a weird relationship with Jenny Hval.

Ooooooh, the bass in that song though

Nooooooooo, not that kind of weird relationship! I have always prided myself on how well I respect both my own and Jenny Hval’s boundaries. She has never spotted me as an 18 year old at a charity basketball game that she arranged and then soon after sent me photos of her genitals. And I, for my part, have never sent her cardboard boxes filled with a own hair and toenail clippings, with a single bullet placed in the middle. That would be weird, right?? Like, why on Earth would I do that?? If Rico Nasty’s legal team are reading this, I just want to clarify how that definitely isn’t something I would ever do, so you’ve obviously got the wrong guy. You’ve not mentioned it in court yet for some reason, but I happen to know that Rico was also sent a Jiffy bag containing three amputated toes, and that definitely wasn’t me either. I don’t even know about that! So, yeah, no idea where the hair and bullet came from, and I wouldn’t bother even bringing up the three toes, as I’m not even aware of that so it’s a dead end. Also, legally, I’m pretty sure you can’t force me to remove my shoes and socks in court, so you may as well give it up now. We may never know, I guess? Maybe start a True Crime podcast?

I mean my relationship with Hval’s art is weird. In 2016, she released the mindblowingly good ‘Blood Bitch’, I absolutely, categorically and unarguably adore that album. I named it the joint sixth best album of 2016, in a nice gimmick that I’m yet to repeat. I can’t remember, but I might have actually done that because I messed up the numbering somewhere else, but whatever, it was a cute little gimmick. ‘Blood Bitch’ was perhaps even as good as that little gimmick, and album that not only won me over as a piece of art but was good enough to convince me that the person making it was an absolute genius. It was so good, I figured, that anything that Jenny Hval subsequently releases must also be works of artistic genius. If my gut reaction wasn’t that it were genius, then I would always have to ignore my gut. Jenny Hval knows far better than I, and if she deems it genius then by God it’s genius! I kind of have an inferiority complex when I compare myself to Ms Hval that I can’t quite explain. I just know that she understands art, and that anything I can’t explain is the fault of me alone. I didn’t quite get 2019’s ‘The Practice of Love’, but I nonetheless named it 35th best album of the year, because… there had to be something going on that I’m not getting.

And here’s ‘Classic Objects’, the second successive album that I am still attempting to grasp. And thus far failing. But I’m close! I swear I just need, like, another couple of years! I’m only just able to mentally unlock the beauty in tracks like Year of Sky and Jupiter!

OK, here’s the thing, Jenny Hval is very much like the TV show The Wire. I remember when I first watched all of The Wires, I finished the first season, I’d just about got my head around every character’s different and complex storylines and place withing the show’s meticulous hierarchy, I stick on season two, and… What?? Now I need to learn about this completely different set of characters! Will you please go easy on my brain??

Yeah, that’s Jenny Hval. Each album, each project that she releases is so different to the last yet equally complex and deep, that you’re always having to first untangle your own perceptions of what it is you’re even experiencing.

Is it good? Well… yeah… it has to be, right? Jenny Hval did it

2019 #31

2016 =6


2021 #45

(with Lost Girls. I *definitely* liked that album)

Metacritic: 85

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