Necessary Evil 2020 pt 2 (90-81)

#90 Vritra: Sonar

OK, remember when I told you that there were so many fantastic records released this year? Well, that pretty much starts here, as Vritra’s

roughly 6’903rd record is yet another example of the unique and intoxicating talents of perhaps the least sufficiently appreciated (former??) member of Odd Future. If this is your first Vritra album, the rapping and musical styles one or two notches above clinically comatose will be sure to bewitch you for a solid half hour (do not listen to while operating heavy machinery etc), but the lack of real evolution of change of styles between records can mean a dangerous sense of disposability and lack of individual character can set in when you listen to multiple records. Like, the guy has released about three albums since that wonderful album with Wilma Archer last year that I didn’t even notice. Which, to be fair, is a docile forgetfulness that’s very on brand.

2019 (no.28)



#89 Lindsay Munroe: Our Heaviness

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Frankie valet Force a Little Exception of Their Own

“Everyone is speechless from afar”

Frankie valet, Nakid 2020

“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

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(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.

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Because I Like Stats (and That’s the Way It Is)

This is probably the only reason i still do this stupid fucking list that nobody reads and the one post that I actually enjoy writing (because it’s basically just me making lots of pretty pictures), statistical motherfucking analysis!! The numbers, the records and the science, yo! behind Necessary Evil 2019. Let’s start with with what (spit) other music journalists thought.

Metacritic Scores

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OK, we all actually agree on the nest album of the year, so the critics are actually correct for once. Chill out on Jamila Woods and Michael Kiwanuka though, yeah?

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Legit Bosses: The 112 Best Songs of 2019

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.

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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…

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5 Blanck Mass: Animated Violence Mild

Yes. Yes yes yes. Yes, sir. Yes indeed. Yes. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeess.

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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.

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18 & 17 Big Thief vs Big Thief!

Both ‘U.F.O.F’* and ‘Two Hands’ are fantastic albums. Certainly, nobody has had two albums in the Necessary Evil top 20 before, and it’s certainly to be commended how an artist can release two separate albums of general quality as these two blasts of mana. But let’s temper our explosive ejaculations just a bit, yeah? The two albums last a total of 82 minutes (perhaps. I honestly don’t trust my own maths). Lupe Fiasco’s criminally underappreciated ‘DROGAS WAVE‘ was NINETY EIGHT fucking MINUTES- because Lupe is mildly insane- and was far better than either of these records. There are twenty two tracks spread across these two records. Pffff! ‘DROGAS WAVE‘ has twenty four tracks! And that was 24 tracks narrating the story of the transatlantic slave trade and making it work as an analogy for rebirth and second chances. What’s that, Big Thief? Woozy Impressionism of banal domestic themes? You’re gonna push that for twenty two tracks? Alright. Ha! You thought I wouldn’t have the chance to talk about Lupe Fiasco this year!

Yes! What’s that, Lupe?! What’s that?! He’s talking about you again! Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?!?!

 

(*Unidentified Flying Object Fuck. I mean… I assume… It doesn’t say on its Wikipedia page, so I’m out of ideas**)

(**it stands for friend! Unidentified Flying Object Friend!! Dudes, that’s so lame! I’m just saying, if I was 10 years old, I’d call it ‘totally gay’. Luckily, I’m older and wiser and fatter and gayer these days, so I understand the offensive connotations of referring to something as ‘gay’ in the pejorative sense. That’s why I am not saying that calling your album ‘Unidentified Flying Object Friend’ is ‘really gay’. So it’s not. But it totally is, do you understand?)

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The Legit Bosses: Best 65 Tracks of 2017

EDIT: a full 16 days after publishing this piece, I finally got round to making a Spofify Playlist. The best songs of 2017. In May 2018)

00 (alexanderlpalmer@hotmail.co.uk)

OK, 20th April and we’re almost done. Never apologise for your own timing: genius cannot be standardised by your plebeian calendar. Good things are always worth waiting for. Patience, motherfuckers, patience.

Remember (kayfabe) last year, when I broke the Legit Bosses down into about a million parts? Ten freaking YouTube videos every post?

That was a really dumb idea. You’re getting all 65 songs in one list this year.

There were exactly sixty five amazing songs released last year. If you believe that there were any more or less then you are either massively mistaken or just plain stupid. Listen and learn:

65 Vince Staples: Alyssa Interlude

00 (alexanderlpalmer@hotmail.co.uk)

Finding out that the voice sample explaining the pain that’s sometimes needed to inspire creativity is actually Amy Winehouse pushed this interlude into ‘AMAZING’ classification.

Barely two minutes long, but exhibiting the kind of experimental genius that was slightly lacking on the rest of the album. More of this in the future please, Mr Staples, and less of… erm…

Less of, like, whatever I said in my review. It was quite a long time ago…

64 Young M.A: M.A Intro

Freaking perfect introduction to the record, which I can’t help but shout along to the “Who dat?/Who dat?/Never who dat” intro with all the gusto and passion a middle aged white guy is legally allowed.

63 St Vincent: Los Ageless

Despite what my review may have led you to believe, not actually about my ex-wife wrongly claiming credit for my suicide.

My ex-wife read that review, by the way, and got in touch to correct a lot of my false assumptions. Yeah, I’ll definitely talk about that at some point. Make sure to click ‘subscribe’…

62 Tove Lo: Hey You Got Drugs

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A lovely ballad about a subject that I think is vastly underrepresented in sad songs. I may have slightly overrated it in my review of the album, which shows how relatively underwhelming the rest of the album is.

Also: invest in a comma maybe, Ms Lo?

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47 Big Thief: Capacity

Sibling Thievery

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I’ve already mentioned how much I always appreciate recommendations and referrals, how I am always fascinated by what exact pieces of culture push different people’s buttons and charge up their dopamine. I am always intrigued by different people’s appreciations and infatuations, and am always eager to investigate them further if I have no working relationship with them.

(Once, back when I was drinking, drugging and fucking at university- believing I was living an impossibly cool Hunter S Thompson-like gonzo lifestyle while actually near irreparably fucking my life up for more than a decade- I was in a girl’s room the morning after a CONQUEST the night before- #LAD- and was perusing her CD collection. I laughingly put down the ridiculousness of much of her collection, explaining to her at length how fucking shit Jamiroquai, Sublime, The Mighty Bosstones etc were. She slapped me in the face. Like, hard. I immediately realised how much I deserved it, and changed my life accordingly. I later married that woman. True story)

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