Oh my God! The top twenty! If you’re interested in a bit of insider knowledge, this has been the most difficult list to write yet, it’s caused way more stress in my personal life than any before it, and it’s getting harder and harder to defend as a humungous drain on my time. This may well be the final countdown I do. Unless you all start giving me money of course. Just leave the bank notes in a burlap sack near the aqueducts, as per usual.
Hinds released their 2016 debut as an amazing idea for a band but frustratingly without the tunes to back up their sizeable identities. Their second album, 2018’s ‘I Don’t Run‘, was a welcome and marked leap up in quality, with the band obviously coming on leaps and bounds as songwriters and performers. This improvement has continued at such a pace that, with the release of their third album this year, they can legitimately noe be considered one of the greatest indie rock bands in the world.
Yeah, this post is going to be a little shorter, just so you know.
‘Magdalene’, despite it often raising both the tempo and intensity, sounds like one, thirty nine minute cry of exasperation. Isn’t this enough? Do you all somehow want more? Didn’t I, as it were, do it, if you will, for, one could argue, you?
FKA Twigs is looking at the consequences of her labour, both emotional and physical (something something fibroid tumours something something “fruit bowl of pain“), and is at once incensed and dejected that it’s seemingly all been for nothing. Her sacrifices in the past mean nothing now and she’s not the one who gets to decide how she’s perceived. No matter how much she learns to love herself, her body, and whomever else decides to share that love at certain points, they can all turn against her at whim and make all of this adoration seem wasted. “Sure, Alex”, I hear you craw, not deigning the situation important enough to stop shoving food into your fat mouth as you speak to me so that with every vowel sound I can see disgusting mushes of Tangy Cheese Doritos swirling around your decaying teeth, “you’re an amazing, Pulitzer-Prize level writer and I, for one, am enthralled, but what’s this all got to do with Mary Magdalene, that tart with the heart who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair, the filthy tramp, and who Dan Brown tells me painted The Last Supper, or something?”
So Kanye ditched ‘Yandhi‘, which was late in its production and looked like it might become very worthwhile, to instead work on a completely new album. OK. I mean, switching projects completely so rapidly and frequently might not bode well for general standards of quality, but who am I to speak about artistic methods? I do this list every year and yet still manage to never let the quality slip below pelvis shattering power, so I’m sure lesser artists like Kanye will be able to ensure standards are still high. And it’s a gospel album?! Well colour me intrigued! Perhaps Kanye will be able to put similar spins on (and analysis of) the genre as Chance the Rapper did on ‘Coloring Book‘! Back when Chance was good! Perhaps, in the future, we will look back on ‘Yandhi’ as Kanye’s ‘Black Album‘, Prince’s mythical 1987 album that he allegedly dropped work on after experiencing a spiritual epiphany while on pills* and decide to instead focus on the gorgeous paean to the struggles of good over evil (and, y’know, shagging) that was ‘Lovesexy‘. Perhaps something happened to Kanye similar to Prince coming up and seeing the light. Kanye West doesn’t take good drugs though, guy has far too much upper body tension, so it’d be an experience more suited to him. Maybe he saw someone else wearing leather jogging pants- his invention!!- and it just pushed him over the edge. Maybe he realised the president he’s such a fan of is an unashamed racist and wants many of his fans removed from the country. Hard to say. Perhaps ‘Yandhi’ will finally receive a proper release in 7 years time and people will be ever so slightly disappointed
(*described as a ‘bad experience on MDMA’ in the Wikipedia article, which, hehehe, no. Taking a pill and then deciding to drop the darker work you’re doing in favour of positive stuff that tries to bring love to everyone isn’t a ‘bad experience on MDMA’, it’s just what happens when you take pills)
You know what? I’ve got a funny feeling that this might not be my last chance to talk about him before this list is done, so I’m wary of squeezing out all my Kanye Juice before the real party starts. ‘Yandhi’ was the album that he was going to release as his follow up to last year’s ‘Ye‘ (I’m sorry, haterz/liberals, but ‘Ye’ was a pretty fine album, as were most of the eighty four records he released last year, let’s not let our reactions to his general behavior colour the history), but then it was delayed, then cancelled, then briefly revived with Ashton Kutcher playing the role of Kanye West, then delayed, then its name was changed to ‘Spunk Muffin and the Dudes With Attitude’, then it was cancelled again, then it was changed to ‘Jesus Is King’, then it was revealed that it wasn’t actually a name change but a completely separate record, then that record was delayed, then it was delayed again, until, finally, it was released, and Yandhi was cancelled, only briefly being released (seriously) as ringtones. Quite straightforward as Kanye West album launches go, really. I actually only sought out ‘Yandhi’ because I assumed it would contain intriguing scrappy demos of whatever tracks Kanye was working on for his next record (which at that point had been delayed so many times I assumed this would be the closest we’d get to a Kanye album this year), but it’s shocking to hear quite how complete a lot of songs on here are, and how realised many ideas are. New Body in particular sounds less than a tweak away from being a hit single, Nicki Minaj feature and all. Later, it was shocking how few of the songs and ideas on ‘Yandhi’ made it to ‘Jesus is King’. Like, pretty much none of it. Nicki Minaj? She’s gone. Hey, Kanye, maybe stay focused on one thing for more than three minutes? Might result in better albums? Perhaps I’ll get to debate this further later.
By many definitions of the word, I’ve been ‘clean’ for about three years now.
By which I mean I no longer drink alcohol. As for other drugs, I’m fond of saying that “I’m either never high or high all the time, depending on how you look at it” due to the cocktail of prescription drugs I consider essential to my psychological upkeep and the fact I’m a stone cold banter merchant. However, as wry and cheeky as the statement may be, it’s not strictly true, and a far more accurate statement would be “I’m either never high, but sometimes really fucking high, or high all the time, and sometimes really fucking high, depending in how you look at it”, as I still enjoy recreational drugs. Because of course I do- drugs are awesome. Kids, just say ‘yes’. If more kids tried drugs we’d have far less problems in the world as potential alcoholics discover a cleaner way to search for the experience of another body. I mean, yeah, sure, we’d have a lot more heroin and crack cocaine addicts, but you’ve got to break a few omelettes to make a good egg, or something
The 1976 movie ‘Snuff’ is a pretty by the numbers meat and potatoes early slasher flick, revolving around the exploits of some n’er do well bikers in South America. The leader of the bikers is called ‘Satan’, which you have to imagine they planned to change at one point. The movie becomes rather notable at its end though.
The film ends with a pregnant actress being stabbed (it was very much that kind of movie), but then we hear the director shout ‘cut’ and the camera pulls away from the action and back to reveal the full movie set. Cameras, crew and director. As the crew pack up their shit, happy with the results of the obvious $72 that went into making the film, a script girl approaches the director and confesses what an admirer she is of his work. She also, predictably, tells him how the violent scene turned her on, because bitches be craaaaaaazeeeeeee!
Imagine being the actual ghost of a poet? It’d be a rather unfortunately ironic existence by my thinking: you’d be overloaded with material to be all poetic about- your odes on the loneliness of death and the unease inspired looming threat of being ghostbusted at any time would be stone cold classics– yet you’d be unable to broadcast your genius to the wider world!!
Sure, you can chuck a verse or two Derek Acorah’s way, but he’s far too much of a egotist to give you proper credit when he broadcasts your work, and he’ll most likely claim that he wrote most of the best stuff himself. You’d be screaming your lungs out accusing him of plagiarism, and the only person who can hear you is Derek! What a palaver!!