LET ME JUST DO A BIT OF CAPITALISATION SCUMMING TO COMPENSATE FOR THAT BLOG ENTRY TITLE.
Phew, I feel better now…
New York’s american poetry club, whom you you might have noticeme mentiona few times, have always seemed both weirdly out of step with wider emotional leanings yet still offering completely timely sentiments. Sometimes the addition of the word ‘American’ in their name leads you to look for commentary on the wider state of their country, even if the lack of capitalisation seems to gently grasp you upper arm and say “Listen, mate, don’t break you back, yeah? It’s a lower case ‘A’, you can’t add too much weight to it. You fucking prick”. Yeah, the implied voice of american poetry club can get pretty aggressive if it wants.
“By removing art from capitalism while allowing capitalism to thrive elsewhere unfettered we are in danger of removing any benefit of speaking in the first place so the artists may as well remain speechless. From afar, I guess. Yeah, that works”
This Blog, This Post, just now
(it was suggested that these pieces should link to the album at the start rather than the end. So here it is, now please stop sending me those abusive text messages)
I’m old enough (late, late, late late* twenties) to remember a career in arts being at least a quasi viable life choice. Nobody would kid themselves that they would make it to be ‘Goo Goo Dolls Big’, where you would earn enough money to finance a daily trip to Mars to wave stacks of Molybdenums in the seediest strip clubs of Tharsis’s Northern Edge and get yourself some of that sweet, sweet Martian poontang (John Rzeznik really lived the dream in that sense), but you’d be able to comfortably exist composing your Romo paeans to Garry Flitcroft without too many people getting on your case. You’d likely do a handful of Peel Sessions before you even released that song about his fringe. I mean, sure, people would still get on your back about getting a ‘real job’, but that’s just because back then a ‘real job’ meant a job that you absolutely hated and that made you seriously consider taking a sledgehammer to your knees each morning just as an excuse not to subject yourself to one more day to the joyless and soul destroying churn of capitalism. Y’know, the same as today. You created something, there were more options for getting people to experience that thing you created, and if people liked that thing enough they would pay you a bit of money to experience it whenever they want. Maybe they’d never been able to hear it, but it had received such good reviews from the reams of art review magazines (that they’d already paid £2 for) that people decide you’re worth the risk and buy your Flitcroft Fantasies CD single backed with a Groove Armada remix and acoustic cover of Lisa Loeb. Hopefully they’d buy the next thing you created as well, maybe the next thing after that. Maybe not the next thing after that, because let’s face it that was absolute pants, but the next thing after that would be hailed as a return to form so they’d jump back on board.
OK OK OK! There were 112 amazing songs released in 2019 (or, erm, released earlier but I just listened to them a lot this year), and here is the definitive, objective and scientifically proven ranking. You can disagree all you want, just remember your disagreement is merely an opinion and this list is fact.
Or maybe not. I made a big change of tablet and therefore music player this year, and I might not have remembered all of the songs I deemed to be Legit Bosses earlier in the year. But whatever, here are 112 amazing songs, here’s the YouTube list and here’s the Spotify playlist, now please leave me alone, yeah?
Starting at number 112 wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith…
Yeah, I thought I might be able to finish Necessary Evil 2019 today but… no.
So instead, call this a little intermission while I simply tell you what the the most viewed posts on this site were last year! Yeah, I know, not very interesting, but it’s CONTENT, God damnit, and you’ll like it! Necessary Evil 2019 finishing tomorrow, I promise
Some albums are just perfect. They contain perfectly what it is you want, perfectly what it is that you need and, perhaps most importantly, comes at simply the perfect time. Blanck Mass’s third album was 2019’s perfect storm. I was worried about NE2018‘s lack of electronic/dance music representation (I will never, never call it ‘EDM’). I used to consider myself a big fan of electronica and dance music, in the late 1990s I worshiped The Prodigy* and The Chemical Brothers and Orbital and Orb and Leftfield and Massive Attack and Bentley Rhythm Ace and Lo Fidelity Allstars and more bands that I’m forgetting about. DJ Shadow! Fuck, what about Goldie?! And Roni Size! Man, there are whole motherfuckin’ subgenres that I’m forgetting! TLDR: me and dance music, sitting in a tree, B-A-N-G-I-N-G.
On ‘CURSEBREAKER X’*, Equip step shit up massively. Previously, the less forgiving may have accused them of being more gimmick than legitimate artist. Every album, like 2018’s ‘Synthetic Core 88‘, came with the hook that it was the soundtrack to a video game that existed nowhere but inside Equip’s imagination. This inspired some incredible music, but for many the conceit would be far too ‘cute’ and even ‘eye rollingly hipster’ to bridge that gap between ‘concept you might appreciate’ and ‘music you unreservedly love’. ‘CURSEBREAKER X’ doesn’t just bridge that gap, it clears it in a single bound by casting a +50 COMPOSITIONS spell and fills the cavern beneath it with buffed power ups as it flies over. Equip breaks the game with WWE 2K20 level glitches that make it unplayable, because they’re playing something else entirely with ‘CURSEBREAKER X’.
(*we’ve seen far too many artists recently, from awakebutstillinbed to Ariana Grande to repeat offender american poetry club, show such a flagrant disregard for proper capitalisation that I’m pleased to see Jamila Woods, Michael Kiwanuka and now Equip have fought against this by, if anything, overcapitalising their records. I’m pleased to officially announce 2019 as The Year We Won Our Capital Back)
Seriously, since when did we all decide that we need to be fucking happy all the time? Recently, happiness hasn’t been something you worktowards, it hasn’t been treated as a welcome result of actually doing worthwhile stuff, it’s no longer something that you practice or a mountain that you climb. Now, you have to be happy as a default state of mind, you owe it to yourself to just be fucking delighted twenty four hours a day. The very concept of happiness has changed. Happiness used to be a result of your general situation, with happy friends and a happy family in a happy community. You were happy because the general situation was exceptionally acceptable. Now, you’re encouraged to simply ignore and avoid all bad feelings, to stick your fingers in your ears and ignore however your friends, family and community might feel. Just make sure that you’re happy. Now we’re encouraged to pursue and gorge on happiness for happiness’s own sake. Be happy! Be happy! Be happy!
Hey, and guess what, while I’m writing this exit polls for the UK election have just been released:
In 2019, I’m supposed to reject all negative thoughts and ensure that I still feel happy, rather than properly react to it. There isn’t a better time to write a blog post about how all this is absolute bullshit.
Yeah, that title was a pun when I reviewed the american poetry club album. Makes less logical sense now, admittedly, but I like it. Hey! Two album reviews this year! Getting into some real Lestor Bangs territory now! This blog is fucking legit, yeah?
We* far too readily accept that whatever we do is simply good enough. We** accept what we are able to do at a scandalously young age. At the very latest when we’re about 18 or 19 and first enter university believing we’re already the finished article and want to spend the next few years convincing other people how fucking amazing we are, usually under the assumption that it’ll lead to increased opportunities to rub our genitalia against somebody else. Often though, it happens much, much younger. Many of the people you pass on the street, many of your closest friends and family, many of the people weird and/or dumb enough to read this very blog, basically decided at about 13 years old that you know all the things you can and can’t do, your likes and dislikes. You*** decided at that age that you shouldn’t really waste time overloading your dumb brain with any new talents or inspirations, so decided to spend the rest of your life getting angry and other people for not accepting you for who you are (and have been for decades).
I don’t mean to say ‘don’t answer that’ as a joke, like the answer would somehow be difficult to hear, it was an entirely serious suggestion. An order, really. It would really slow this entry down to a standstill were I to pause now to open it up for reader’s suggestions. It’s pretty much the definition of a rhetorical question, see? I’m not actually expecting you to answer, merely just asking it for dramatic effect. Do you see? Good.
Four albums in, and two of the artists have debilitating issues with capitalisation (stef shares similar disregard for proper nouns to american poetry club). The only two artists from America, make of that as you will. Is this the Donald Trump effect? In fact, if any human being on Earth loves capital letters, it’s The Trump, so maybe these artist’s refusal to capitalise is a subtle form of process. Fair enough, as you were…
I don’t think I had as much of a personal relationship with any artist on this year’s list as I had with stef chura. Back in early 2018 I was relatively new to Bandcamp, which is one of the Greatest Things Ever that I really don’t have time to talk about here (I’ll save that for an album where I can’t think of what to write about- there’s plenty of those coming up). I was initially overwhelmed by this new tool that was seemingly offering me endless opportunities to hear new music from artists not even yet big enough to have had held discussions over the exact makeup of the band’s logo*, artists so obscure that even if the singer committed suicide it would only make even the local news on a really slow news day, that I didn’t really know where to start. I followed a few people, hoping to get suggestions from their own opinions rather than go through the laborious task of forming my own.
(*Every band should have a logo. Listen, this isn’t a debate, I’m just telling you a fact. If you haven’t yet got one you’re obviously not taking your art seriously enough. I’ll accept that some artists might not have had the time yet, but if you’re on your third album and still logoless then you’re showing offensive disregard for your own brand. Did Steve Jobs die for nothing?**)