34 Dua Saleh: CROSSOVER

2020 #57, 2019 #75

Ooooooooooh Dua (par-par-parpar-parpar), ooooh Saleh, Saleh (par-par-parpar-parpar), you are my innovational and boundary pushing electronica tinged hip-hop nonbinaryyyyyyy, and you got me wanting you.

Yeah, I know, looking at that contemporary photograph of The Archies there, you might worry that there were real issues with representation in the late 60s, but if it makes you feel any better know that three of the members were proudly out homosexuals, two did not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and one was a literal dog.

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12 The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir

Stephin Merrit’s Life, Ranked

(Wait, is it with an ‘i’?? I have been misspelling him my all life…)

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The best Magnetic Fields albums always come with a good, solid gimmick, don’t they?

We all know (and love. If you don’t love it we can never be friends. Or even sexual partners. Unless you have, like, really nice tits) ’69 Love Songs’, but there was also the brilliant ‘i’ (where every song began with said letter); the less brilliant ‘Distortion’ (where every song was layered with Jesus and Mary Chain levels of interference); ‘Love Gas from the Digestive Tract’ (which featured Stephin Merrit burping after every line); ‘Hank and Peggy’ (in which all 259 tracks were based on a separate ‘King of the Hill’ episode, which was a brilliant way of honouring one of the most underrated TV shows of all time which I’m totally going to steal!); and ‘Fabio’s Groove Ride’ (the tale of Fabio killing a goose while on a rollercoaster. No, I will never stop referencing that incident! It happened on this very day in 1999, have some fucking respect).

[I started this ‘review’ yesterday, so it’s now exactly 19 years and one day since it happened]

’50 Song Memoir’ is what it says on the tin, with each of it songs referring to a different year in Merrit’s life. Yes, there’s 50 songs, because Stephin Merrit always prefers to go absolutely gall bladder out when he’s got a gimmick he really likes.

It’s not as good as ’69 Love Songs’, because of course it isn’t as good as the best album ever with a number in its title, but it’s still an astonishingly strong collection. The highs are no way near the heights of ’69…’,

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but a far greater percentage of its songs are worthwhile: there are no piss-taking throwaways like Punk Love or Experimental Music Love and far less contrived arch jokes such as Love is Like Jazz. I might even argue that there are more great songs on ’50…’ than they are on ’69…’, but there’s nothing here anywhere near the sheer majesty of Busby Berkeley Dreams or The Book of Love or All My Little Words or The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure or I Don’t Want to Get Over You or I Shatter or…

[continues for several minutes]

I once had the brilliant idea of, instead of attempting a full Necessary Evil 2017 countdown of albums that I’ve barely lived with for three or four months, why not just have a top 50 of the songs on ’50 Song Memoir’, going into detail on all the topics and emotions brought up!? Pretty awesome, yeah?!

Unfortunately, I got that brilliant idea after I’d already started this stupid fucking list. I mean, I’m still going to do it, it just won’t be as good. Hope you’re all fine with that.

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23 St Vincent: MASSEDUCTION

MASSDELUSION

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“How can anybody have you and lose you
And not lose their minds, too?”

That’s a really nice little couplet, isn’t it?

It relates to the similarly awesome surrounding song’s Los Ageless*‘s themes of  desperately attempting to battle the horrifying and corrosive party-pooping  efforts of aging. It’s so cleverly written though, that Annie Clark is aware how it could potentially become an anthem for jilted lovers and soundtrack many traumatic break ups. Annie Clark is clever enough to realise that, realistically, the largest effect any song written and performed by a woman can hope to have on wider culture is if it’s included on the soundtrack of a ‘Bridget Jones’ movie, so she might hit paydirt with this one.

I really love the line. I love how it flows, I love how many ways it could be interpreted. I love how Clarky sings it. I love it so much I actually got it as a tattoo.

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…which, given the things I’m about to talk about, might have been a mistake…

Imagine if the lyrics were slightly different. Imagine if the song was actually about how finishing a relationship with Annie is likely to send someone loopy, because she’s so fucking awesome. The chorus would instead go ‘How can anybody have me and lose me/And not lose their minds too?’.

It would still be a pretty boss lyric, wouldn’t it? I mean, a little less nuanced and subtle than Clark’s songs usually are, but still an exhilarating anthem of female empowerment that is once again guaranteed that Bridget Jones movie spot.

However, what if the lyrics were: ‘How can anybody have me and lose me/Move to a different country for three years/Finally divorce me/And not lose their minds too’?

It’d be a bit weird, wouldn’t it? I mean, the rhyming scheme has been completely compromised, and the song’s whole melody would probably have to be rewritten in order to work it in.

Don’t worry, I am actually going somewhere with this:

Let me take you back to April 31st 2010:

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Continue reading “23 St Vincent: MASSEDUCTION”