Yaaaay!! A statistical breakdown of 2017’s albums!! Suddenly, all those wasted evenings desperately bashing out 1000 words of utter shite on Muna or something finally comes to fruition!! I get to do a mathematical breakdown of the findings!! Kinda get tired reading more than 100 words but enjoy looking at pretty pictures? Yeah, me too…
(So nice of Lorde to let us reference one of her songs…)
This it it. the mathematically proven greatest record of 2017. And The Maths is in no doubt.
Perhaps you could argue that The Maths was so desperate to name an album that isn’t Lorde or Kendrick Lamar– a desperation foreshadowed by The Maths naming the Fever Ray’s album best record of 2017 before The Maths had even heard it (and then always being ever so slightly disappointed every time The Maths heard it because of this decision)- and actually conclude that ‘No Shape’ is actually just the greatest album of 2017 that isn’t Lorde or Kendrick Lamar.
The Maths appreciates that viewpoint, and The Maths is aware of how The Maths previously mocked Crack Magazine for naming Arca as 2017’s best album as obvious edgelord attention seeking. The Maths would understand if you accused The Maths of a similar exhibitionism if you were to listen to the Arca album– very good if overwhelmingly intense and rarely enjoyable ‘in the traditional sense’- and the knock-down genius of Perfume Genius’s latest– the most perfect combination of pop songcraft and overwhelming beauty you’ll have likely heard recently- and tell me they are both equally understandably considered the greatest record of any year.
Yep, neither Lorde nor Kendrick Lamar is my number one album: who could it possibly be?!
Have a think about it…
Yeah, it’s that one.
Maybe you haven’t heard Lorde’s Stone Cold Masterpiece of a second album, because you’re a fucking idiot, but you know what it’s about don’t you?
I mean, her 2013 debut was written when she was only 14 years old
and showed a prodigious level of writing ability that arbalested her to worldwide attention. It was a far better written (and plain better) debut album than the Arctic Monkeys’ was in 2006, and back when that was released there were some people unconvinced whether lyrics so good could have been written by someone in their late teens, and conspiracy theories abounded. There was no such debate over the much younger Lorde, because she was (and, brace yourself, still is) female, and so all of her art will always be undervalued, and people will just assume that a more naturally talented man was actually responsible for writing the songs, and Lorde just added bits about makeup and Kim Kardashian to get the writing credit.
(Hmmm, if you haven’t seen ‘The Trip‘, that Michael Caine picture might look a bit like I’m accusing him of something rather uncomfortable. Mind you, this is a guy who said he legally changed his name to Michael Caine because of ISIS, so I don’t really care)
Number 3 is as low as I’m legally allowed to place ‘DAMN’. Listening to it now, I’m not even sure it deserves to be this high.
Wait, wait, wait! Before the Court of Public Opinion (C.O.P.O. Do you see what I did in the title there, hmmmm, do you?) strikes me down as being shamelessly unappreciative of modern art, let me just get a few truths out in the open:
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?)
Sometimes I envy NME. And The Guardian. And Pitchfork. And Melody Maker. And Q Magazine. And the Manchester Evening News. And Rolling Stones. I envy The Roling Stone’s money, but I don’t envy being them, as that would mean losing 50 years of my life and a complete morality lobotomy. And Crack Magazine.
How many others are there…?
And Kerrang. And the Telegraph And NME. I said that one, didn’t I? I envy it twice. And Mojo. And Uncut. And Mixmag.
I envy all these vessels of music journalism- to different degrees and holding it to varying degrees of importance- because, I don’t know if you ever noticed, but they manage to get their albums of the year list out at the actual end of the year!!
How do they do that?? I mean, even if Mojo is in a terrible place mentally, and is considering if it’s really worthwhile writing anything anymore, it still manages to garner up the motivation to try and and convince us that David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ was the best album of 2016 (nonsense, I have the science to prove it was actually 27th) on December 11th!! I didn’t even get around to explaining the truth until October 30th 2017!!
This piece might end up being quite sexist. And: no, if you’re wondering if that’s the biggest sign in the world that it will be sexist, then you’re wrong- that’d be me declaring that “I’m not sexist, but…” or perhaps “Now, I don’t want to sound sexist…”.
Opening it with an admission that it “might end up being quite sexist” is the, like, sixth biggest warning sign of upcoming sexism. Fifth, at worst.
Just so you know I am a sexist, and in most of my correspondence I do want to sound sexist- because I’ve read a lot of Pick Up Artists’ books and it’s the best way to guarantee being absolutely drowned in minge- but I don’t wish to in this one piece. I mean, SZA has a bit of the look of a militant lesbian ‘Don’t Call Me Chick’ chick, doesn’t she? Don’t want to make her angry, she might be on her period or something.
OK: starting from now is the part that isn’t trying to be sexist, OK?
‘CTRL’ is such an emotionally engaging album with lyrics so nakedly and honestly evaluating human inner process that you would swear it was some record screamed into an empty Tennants can after some 1970s divorce by Neil Young (or perhaps a Necessary Evil entry where I’m struggling to think of anything to say about Wye Oak or someone and just shamelessly reference my suicide attempt for the 4’274th time) rather than (ostensibly) an R&B album. I felt the lyrical content was so powerful and (to a middle class white boy) unanticipated that I felt it deserved me to actually pay attention to it in a review. Which, if you’re paying notice, you’ll notice I’ve not actually bothered to do since way back when PJ Harvey was No.79 last year (and even that was only to say they were shit. Love you Peej!!).
Now, this leads me into what I believe is the delicate (like snow) position where good old fashioned misogyny might flower and blossom. No, not bad sexism! I’m way too much of a nice guy to be a bad sexist! I open doors for women! I would have voted for a female MP if they were allowed! I would almost definitely never rape a woman! I mean, like properly rape her: the stupid cows seem to be calling everything rape these days, ammi right, lads?! I even wear a ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirt, even though I’m a bloke! You’d think that would guarantee me pootang pie left right and centre, but nope: the dirty little sluts really do prefer bad boys, don’t they? Which I’m not. I’m a nice guy!
Her first band, Kill Laura, were about 4% as bad as you’d expect a band who released their first record while Weavo was still at college- in 1993- to be. Kill Laura ended up on a record label run by Rob fuckin’ Gretton, where one can only assume the band were paid in horse tranquillisers and forced to record their songs while Rob aimed a crossbow at Weavy’s forehead and masturbated into a tin bucket full of custard ‘for the acoustics’. Weev actually recorded a solo album while at Manchester Records (really, Rob? That’s actually the best you can come up with? Fucking waste of space) which was never released because it coincided with Gretton’s death (I’m sorry for your loss. Bur Manchester fucking Records?? That is such bullshit! I’m not saying I’m glad he’s dead, not at all).
Weaverino went on to form Misty Dixon, a band who you can tell from that one song were roughly 76 times better than more than two thirds of your embarrassing record collection. As they were always likely to be, as they featured the talents of not only Weaverine but also Dave Tyack, one of the founding artists of the Twisted Nerve label. The release of their debut album was overshadowed slightly by the disappearance of Tyback. He was found dead in Corsica, two years later. Misty Dixon had already broken up by then. The quitters…