Halsey sits in that awkward position of being an extremely, very, absolutely great artist, but at the same time being weighed down by almost being suffocatingly overrated by some corners. Also, she’s often really annoying.
Now that last (factual) statement may actually be problematic. Would I refer to Halsey’s objective annoyingness if she were a man? Truthfully, if she were a man I’d probably call her a ‘cunt’, but I’m always aware of how vicious it can sound to use such violent language when referring to a woman, so I’m slightly more polite. Is that sexist? To self censor my language and treat women more ‘gentlemanly’? Am I actually doing it because I feel that the curse is hilariously infuriating to a man but actually hatefully offensive when said to a woman? Is that idea sexist?? Should I maybe not be calling anyone a ‘cunt’??
“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.
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.
If this blog has one true aim, then it’s to introduce and promote new…
Well… no, actually, if this blog has one true aim then it’s to extensively psychoanalyse myself and admit my private shame into what I believe to be essentially ‘The Void’, all under the laughable pretense of ‘reviewing music’. Ha! I haven’t done any ‘music reviews’ since I was highly scathing as a twelve/six year old of the 1996 Dodgy album ‘Free Peace Sweet‘. Three piece suite! Now I get it! Sorry, Dodgy, that review was unnecessarily harsh. Reappraisal: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
OK, but if this blog had a secondary aim, then it’s to introduce and promote new artists to…
No, the secondary aim is just an excuse to talk about Manic Street Preachers as much as possible, isn’t it? With ‘Official Prince Chat’ sprinkled on the side as garnish. I might just rename the blog to ‘Artists I Liked When I Was a Kid, At Length (While I Wait for the Next Hotelier Album)’. Dot WordPress dot com.
“If it had a third purpose it’d be […] no actually it’d be [BANTER]. In that case the fourth purpose would be […] actually, it’d probably be [STONE COLD MEGALOLZ]. But the fifth purpose would definitely be… (repeat)”
I had honestly planned to write each of these entries off as quickly as possible. The last two entries were a combined total of more than 3000 words, and it’s literally taken up my entire Sunday writing them. I’m afraid american poetry club (what, they have no caps locks in Missouri?? You people disgust me) are going to bear the brunt of my frustration at being unable to sufficiently edit myself, and I’m not going to say much about their delightful little blast of lo-fi emo.
I’ll start this review off with a little parable: whenever someone decides to have a go at playing Sonic the Hedgehog, the first thing they do hold down and press ‘B’ in order to have him spin. That move wasn’t introduced until Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Have a think about the message in that parable before we go on
‘The Con’, Tegan and Sara’s fifth album, was a very important album to me personally, not just simply at the time of its release but for many years afterwards. This should have had given me a hint to how significant a release it was- considering the lasting effect it still managed to have on a man so tediously heteronormative that he seriously refused to like Bret Hart as a child because he wore pink- but I honestly didn’t realise the wider world had similar and even equal affections to me (but never more, never possibly more: nobody could love ‘The Con’ more than me. Nobody!) until I learned that there would be a tenth anniversary celebrated with a collection of covers of each of the album’s 14 tracks by 14 different artists, some newer acts that were directly influenced and even enabled by T&S’s and this album’s success, and some older affiliates (Ryan Adams: who knew? He’s a man that I imagine would consider even me an outrageous fop).
Firstly, this is always a great idea, and always preferable to just lazily re-releasing a classic album with an extra disc of b-sides and demos (damn you, Manic Street Preachers, stop taking my money!!). Two albums on this countdown are by artists first introduced to me through this album (Muna and… another one…)
and it’s by far the best way to exhibit an album’s importance.
Secondly, rather than spending 800 words again moaning about how I think Tegan and Sara aren’t as good as they used to be, I thought that it would be far more interesting and relevant to revisit my original ‘review’ of the album when it, in keeping with my usual punctuality, was No.4 in my 2008 list (and make it 2’100 words). The original piece only captures a small part of the bond I would eventually form with the record, but this is still proof that I was into this album way before anyone on this list. And yet was I invited to contribute? Was I buffalo!!
More after the jump (I’ve always wanted to write that, makes the blog sound so legit)
There’s something that feels inherently wrong about strongly getting into a new musical artist at my age.
I’m not going to go into details, but I’m older (and fatter) than Ronaldo was when he was embarrassingly decrepit and past his prime at World Cup 2006- which was once my very barometer of shameful over-maturity- but younger than Diamond Dallas Page was when he first started wrestling, so that dream isn’t quite dead yet.