Jesus Christ, people, Justin Blackburn, Justin fucking Blackburn.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, is ‘Blackburn’ even a surname in America?? It’s such a dour, cold & windy, shovelling-cow-shit-into-a-tractor-just-outside-Durham, depressingly prosaic English name that it really doesn’t fit the glitzy imperialism and Hollywood gunplay of the US. It’s like finding out Shawn Michaels’s real second name is Hickenbottom. Has he ever even been to Blackburn? What are his opinions on Alan Shearer?
Secondly, was there a more arresting, more intentionally obnoxious, more on the nose outraged in 2021 than ‘Unlearning White America’? In the last decade?? You should certainly be able to gauge the general thesis of the record by its splenetic title, but I’m telling you now, you have no fucking idea. It’s important to note that Justin Blackburn is a white American himself, so rather than angrily tearing down the racist power structure that prevents perceived outsiders like himself from even a fair chance, he is on the inside (even more angrily) rejecting the inbuilt privileges that the people who grew up around him receive, refuse to acknowledge and even turn to resentment against the USA’s non white inhabitants. Many of the rage is directed toward Justin’s (diegetic? genuine?) father. All the rage is directed towards white America’s assumptions, inattentiveness and, yes, racism. Justin is so centred on the ridiculous state of race relations in his country that he even goes as far as to manage to make ‘Jesus’ rhyme with ‘racist’.
‘Love Is Dead’ is, as many commentators have already pointed out, a lot like Chris Pine’s penis. I can appreciate it, I understand why people might like it, and it’s definitely technically extremely sound. I can even perceive things about it that people would definitely like, and in theory there are many things about it that I should really be a fan of. On paper, ‘Love is Dead’/Chris Pine’s penis should be something I’m really into, they’re both legitimately ‘dazzling‘, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with either of them and there are no holes I can pick in…
I mean… yeah… I suppose that… Chris Pine’s penis… pick a hole… Never mind, this analogy is golden. Let’s move along.
Even if you didn’t love Deacon’s fourth album it’d still snuggle up close to you and embrace you in a strong bear hug you couldn’t escape from, it’d still brush your face tenderly and tell you how beautiful your eyes are, it’d listen to your opinion on why you don’t love it and still pay for your bar bill while you weren’t looking. Luckily this is all deeply hypothetical because there’s absolutely no freaking way on God damn Earth that you wouldn’t fucking adore this album. It’s batshit mental, but in a gloriously controlled and deliberate way, utilising such a rich musical palate that letting it wash through you is the lushest thing you’ve done to your ears since you decided to attach kittens to your ear buds when you last cleaned them out. DD seems to have discovered a special kingdom underneath the synth stabs and reverb that is sheer splendour to spend 44 minutes prancing around inside. He obviously can’t decide whether to be a portrayer of dance bangers or throw out arty minimalism more beloved by the intellectuals and so simply tries to do both, some of the songs here sound simply like the two approaches played on top of each other and it works magnificently. An utterly life-affirming experience.
‘Fun’ Fact: Deacon’s initials- DD- are also the name of a rather large bra-size
Wh… Really? That’s your fact? Ah come on, while listening to ‘Feel the Lightning‘ it’s impossible for either me to think straight or for you to stay angry