Yeah, you know how JPEGMAFIA’s album was just a collection of singles from the previous year? Well, Burial sees that effort and raises it by releasing a collection of singles and EPs from the better part of the last decade. Might have made sense to split the two albums up on the list. This list isn’t about aesthetics and sensible ordering though. It’s pure science. And if the science states that they should be placed next to each other, perhaps both fitted with a secret microchip so Bill Gates can track their movements, then who are we to argue?
Sigh… I’m going to have to start with an embarrassing confession. I know, many of you reading this already think all the things I write are shamefully embarrassing, but this is a distressing mark against my musical knowledge which, come on, up until now was unimpeached. In November of 2019, roughly a month before this collection came out, I wrote this:
When I first heard ‘Devotion’ I was blown away by it. I had never previously heard of her, and only bonked into her album during one of my financially and mentally draining BandCamp trawls. She didn’t exist. I had read no reviews or even mentions of her in the world of online music journalism. Yet here she was. And she was perfect. I got very excited. I had discovered her and would now be the spark that lit the wider press adoration that fired her to the very top. She would be my artist.
‘Devotion’ is a pretty spectacular album, and I was looking forward our trip to the top together. I pictured her mentioning my name in her acceptance speech after winning her first Brit/VMA/Emmy/Oscar/Mercury/Nobel prize in 2025, as someone who had ‘always been there’ for her. She’d even invite me to sing backing vocals on Dismal Affordable Beams, track seven off her 2023 album ‘Pigs! Pigs! Fucking PIGS, Motherfucker!‘, as being a longtime devotee of my art* naturally meant she was well-aware of my exceptional singing ability. I mean, the track isn’t very well received (like, at all), but it means that I can now boast of appearing on a platinum record. And, yes, some deeper feelings are quite obviously always going to blossom between two people who work so closely and are so deeply in awe of each others art*. Laura would even proposition me one night, but I’d say I could never take advantage of a woman who’d been drinking gin and snorting ketamine for the last six hours straight, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardise what had by that point grown into one of the most artistically and financially successful partnerships in all of music. This honesty, and my sheer integrity, would cause Ms Jane to burst into tears, and she’d apologise for even putting me in that position as she falls into my embrace. I pat the back of her head, and say that I still love her, and that I would help her beat the debilitating drug addiction that I’ve just decided she has. I mean… I’d probably say no… depends how lonely I was feeling…
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?)
This mini-album is a threat. It’s an aggressive and intimidating declaration of intentions. It’s subtle, but there are people (or perhaps just ‘person’: me) smart enough to decipher it. Like when Donald Trump
visits Kim Jong Un for a state banquet, and Jongy spends the entire meal flicking peas directly into Trump’s mashed potatoes, particularly around the east side of the plate. Trump won’t understand the suggestion, of course, because [DONALD TRUMP IS STUPID JOKE] and the fat fuck is just happy that he’s getting a little extra food. But us smart people (yes, you. And you. And you! Not you though. You know why. You know why) will see the threat being made, we’ll know some pretty awesome shit’s about to go down!!