Thirteen different artists have won Necessary Evil since it first started in 2007. Maybe fourteen, depending on your take on 2013’s infamous Arctic Monkeys/Hjaltalín controversy. No artist has ever finished first twice. Until now. 070 Shake’s ‘Modus Vivendi’ was the greatest album of 2020, and the 2022 follow-up is unquestionably the greatest album released this year, with its only viable contender being a 1982 masterpiece widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. These are the only two albums she has released.
Rerelease number two!By the way, I’ve also come to notice since I last wrote that Marina post signalling the Oncoming of the Rereleases, where I rather cerebrally and logically (some would say deeply sexually) explained how I’d been smart enough to collate the list’s three big rereleases all together just outside the top ten. Or maybe that was a complete accident. The point was: I’m a fucking critical genius. Well, afterwards, I realised that there were rereleases at numbers 14, 13, 12, then a completely valid 2022 record at #11… Then another ‘rerelease’ (not technically rereleased this year, but a ‘Legacy Release’ that I’d decided to include) at number ten. Honestly, I’ve no fucking idea what’s going on with this list. Or my life, for that matter. Please help me. Any clues on how to sort this shit out?
My life, I mean, I don’t want to hear about any perceived ‘improvements’ to this blog or the Necessary Evil year end list. Necessary Evil is a perfect little crystal and I’m very protective over it. My life? Meh, I’m not too fussed, so I’ll give everything a shot. Have I ever tried deeps sea crab fishing as a vocation, you ask? Why not!? Live out my days as a Dreamsexual?? That sounds pretty problematic these days. I’ll do it.
Oh Aggie, your beating heart was a carriage made of gold How the arithmetic of this guitar melts your heart is beyond me And when I say beyond me, I mean beyond me Love ya? I barely know you, it goes to show Who really knows what love is? The branches, the breeze, the roiling seas None of it seems worth mentioning Though I’m in the process of figuring it out Even if it’s elementary A scrapyard angel, wings of brass Ash, a river called trash And speaking of lifelike, this is what life’s like You thread the needle, then the needle runs dry You thread the needle, then the needle runs dry “Inward Crackle,” says the fink to himself Oh well, I wasn’t taught how to Go off like a, go off like a, go off like a, go off like a Go off like a hydrogen bomb But I do radiate a certain glow It flutters and fades, a Ferris wheel on the run from the snow You have to look at it from all angles Says the cubist judge from cubist jail The sky glows, the heat is unbearable Parrot weather My decision is final, a crazy game I traded in moonlight for the morning dew I know dusk when I see one I know rust when I see it You come out swinging, but you go down swinging too You pay good money for a million dollar view Flipping the pages of Chatelaine The rude empiricism of every troubled loser Quote, unquote, unquote A moment alone please A moment alone please A moment alone please With this, with this With this rhapsody With this rhapsody Vital information from where I’m standing Low-born Madonna With her typewriters in the rain Clacking their misfortunes, speech, speech A figure of light’s trapped inside your kimono Absent friends, where’d you go? And while we’re on the subject of psychotic passwords Honing in on nothing Everywhere Rome goes Everybody wants her Ah fuck, I feel like a discovery someone once saw On a clear day Dump him
You wanna kill me? Well, here’s your chance I can barely get around now as it fucking stands You wanna see me, but you just can’t get passed How I look or talk or think or walk, and it’s fucking sad
I don’t know what I can do To make you comfortable With what you see before you So let me let you know that
I’m not cisgender, I’m not binary, trans I don’t wanna be a girl, I don’t wanna be a man I’m just existing on this God-forsaken land And you can take it or leave it Or you can just stay back, stay back
Heeeeey, you know what the world needs more of? Straight, cis, old, fat, white guys judging the scorched soul searching of young black queer people! Yeah yeah, Shamir, boohoo for you, tissues for your issues, but allow me to state the proper reaction to your inner trauma. “I’m just a faggot, who lives like a maggot”?? Hey! That’s our word for making fun of you people! So now we’re allowed to call you lot ‘queer’ and you get to use the F word?? And yet when I use the N word as a joke at my job I’m suspended from teaching primary school PE for a whole two weeks?! No fair! Where’s my artistic communication of hopelessness in a world that’s still depressingly oppressed against me?? I just wanna use the N word and bully queer people online!! Truly, we are the lost generation. Thank God that comedy is now legal on Twitter, because I’ve got some bangers.
Never been in Pitchfork?? That can’t be right, those motherfuckers review everything. When I released my first mixtape, ‘Phish Pale’, back in 2011, they even reviewed that piece of shit and gave it a respectable 6.8. I get it, that line is obviously meant to emphasise how bafflingly obscure she remains despite being consistently responsible for some of the greatest hip-hop of the past decade, but it’s not meant to be taken literally. Let’s just search the Pitchfork site:
OK, own up, the lot of you, when was it all decided that Alvvays were officially ‘A Big Deal’? I loved their previous album ‘Antisocialites’ in 2018, as did everyone who heard it. But, like, ‘everyone who heard it’ was a couple of hundred worldwide, surely? It just never seemed that many people were aware of them, they’re such a minute and delicate little gem, surely more than maybe 72 people listening to their dainty little anthems would cause the band to shatter? Be careful how you handle Alvvays!! They’re fragile!
Yeah, I know that both of their albums have been shortlisted for the Canadian Polaris Music Prize, and that ‘Antisocialite’ won the Juno award for Alternative Album of the Year, which, yes, is a real thing and, yes, is also Canadian. But these are Canadian awards! How many people actually live in Canada? Couple of thousand, maybe? At a push? Their adorable little awards are hardly a good barometer of someone’s wider cultural impact. You know who won that Juno award this year? Mustafa the Poet! Who, yeah, actually sounds pretty awesome now I read about him, but he ain’t headlining no Superbowls, brother!
2. There are no wars or anything (real wars, that is).
3. Ummm. Very little continental drift going on (that’s probably normal).
4. Somewhere, the president’s daughter is “like, totally wasted” right now.
There. One minor problem. Otherwise, things are swell. I haven’t really researched this much, but if something major was going wrong, I’m sure someone would have told me. So what are these Manic Street Preachers bitching about?
And despite everything I’ll discuss in this review, I still absolutely stand by that visual point. It’s simply inconceivable that the band ever believed that ‘Know Your Enemy’ would be a commercial success, and it’s likely that they correctly assumed that it would cut ties with the mainstream to such an extent that they would never again experience anything close to the success that they enjoyed in the late 90s. Their previous album, 1998’s ‘This is My Truth…’ sold five million copies worldwide (!), while ‘KYE’ sold 500’000. Nicky Wire would later even concede in Mojo Magazine that much of those sales were to dissatisfied customers, and also remark on how it marked the band’s commercial downturn: “To this day, you see ‘Know Your Enemy’ at service stations for £2.99, because they bought so many thinking it was by one of those commercial bands! In retrospect, it sold half a million copies. Imagine what we’d give for that now.”
So, yes: commercially, it was ritual suicide. But was it any good?
Top ten! Whoop whoop! Top ten! Whoop whoop! Feeling good?? Feeling stoked?? In that case, let’s bring the mood down a bit with an Andrea Dworkin quote:
Being Female in this world is having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behaviour and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice
Or maybe I’ll share a quote from a Joan Didion novel, between Grace and Charlotte, two women sojourning in the fictional central American country of ‘Boca Grande’:
I recall telling Charlotte about a village on the Orinoco where the female children were ritually cut on the inner thigh by their first sexual partners, the point being to scar the female with the men’s totem. Charlotte saw nothing extraordinary in this. “I mean that’s pretty much what happens everywhere , isn’t it?” she said. “Somebody cuts you? Where it doesn’t show?”
Hey. Hey. Hey you. Yeah, you, future cultural historian. Yeah. I’m contacting you from the past. Wooooooooooo! Wait… no, I’m not a ghost, am I? Scrap that last comment. Just put down your Diplomat smoking pipe and remove your monocle, listen to me for a second. How’s the future treating you? Flying cloud storage, you say? Electronic cigarettes with AI sentience? Well that all sounds absolutely pointless, but good luck to you. Gig economy for cultural history, is it? Because Elon Musk is now the Great Leader at more than a thousand years old and can’t afford to give any workers at all any rights because he needs to fund his great humanitarian expedition to carve a visible doge meme onto the surface of Jupiter? For the lols? You have to pay for your own monocle and pipe?? Yeah, yeah, that all sounds awful, but not much different from my time and I kinda wish you’d stop going on about it, it’s my turn to speak.
How are you currently gauging the cultural mood of the years 2020-21 out there in the year 3000? Sure, if you wanted an inspiring and comforting read on everything you could just go to Arlo Parks’s debut album. Perhaps if you wanted a glimpse into how humanity strived (and often succeeded) to make creative connections despite the viral barriers you could take a listen to Charli XCX’s magnificent ‘how i’m feeling now‘. Or, yeah, if you wanted to go all Pitchforky I guess you could name that Fiona Apple album. What’s that? You’re actually currently evaluating the era through the prism of Emily in Paris? Damn, that’s a good angle, and I’d love to see what horrors you’ve unearthed during your studies. But can I suggest something far more advantageous? How about you study the illuminating trilogy of albums released by Big $ilky over that period?
If you’ve ever read this blog- like at all, you ingrate philistine- you know how I spend roughly 40% of my time elucidating how special Katie Crutchfield’s musical project is. I am very much a Waxahitcher, which is a term I’ve just made up for the sort of Waxahatchee fan who’s dedicated/deluded enough to invent a term for the level of insanity that their fandom warrants. She made the most important album of 2013 to me, which, yeah, I didn’t admitat the time, but respect the retcon!