10 Miguel: War & Leisure

Awe and Pleasure

(Hate to Say I Told You So)

Alex

“Miguel is one of the faces of an enthralling new strand of R’n’B that has blossomed recently, a strand that never takes its eyes off its influences but still crafts music that represent new creative highs for the entire genre. I’m generally heterosexual and generally male, yet after listening to ‘Wildheart’ sultrily and explicitly dry hump my ear for 46 minutes I still became pregnant more than a dozen times and tweeted Miguel so many naked pictures I’m actually due in court a week next Tuesday. If he concentrated more on the brash and provocative modern rethinks of ‘Dirty Mind’ rather than AOR nonsense like face the sun(sic)’ then he could get amazing.”

In 2015 a influential yet outrageously (and intensely sexually) intoxicating up and coming writer wrote those words about Miguel’s previous album. That writer believed that they key to unlocking Miguel’s potential brilliance was to concentrate and focus his influences on compiling a modern update on Prince’s best works. That writer believed strongly that Miguel should always concentrate on the shagging-that was pretty much his calling card, after all- but he should look into more subversive ways of presenting his sexuality than the occasional one note dogged horniness of ‘Wildheart’. An aldum, lest we forget, contained tracks with titles such as Suck It Like It’s George C Suckington’s BirthdayTouch it, I Dare You (Eeeew! I Can’t Believe You Actually Touched It!I Don’t Have Any Serious Reservations About A Little Slap and Tickle (If You Catch My Drift) and PENIS!! FUCKING PENIS!!!! FANNY!!! (I’ll Have Some of That N’All)The writer was at pains to confirm just how amazing and important shagging was.

Well, and this revelation might blow your tiny and insignificant minds, that writer was I, reader. And I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong.

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20 Tyler, the Creator: Scum Fuck Flower Boy

Sara May Never Get What She Was Promised

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Yeah!! ‘Sum Fuck Flower Boy’! It’s not just feebly called ‘Flower Boy’ on this blog! You won’t see no censorship on Baboon Etiquette*! Yeah, motherfucker, we punk rock, yo!! I hereby promise that you will never, ever see censorship on this blog!! Unless somebody starts actually paying me for it!! Then I’ll do whatever the fuck they want!! Because I’m far too poor to put any principles before money!! Holler at your boyeeeee!!!

I never actively disliked Tyler, the Creator. I mean, whenever I’m complaining about the paucity of decent rappers’ names these days (‘Vince Staples‘? Really?? So, do I call you ‘Vincent’, or…?) his is always the first exception that comes to mind. He always just had a pretty poor reputation to me.

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The Italian philosopher Gloria Origgi writes in her Taylor Swift inspired book ‘Reputation‘ (although it was of course initially released under it’s Italian title of ‘Ayyyyy! Reputationalio! Mama Mia!’. Yes, of course that joke’s racist) that we all have two selves. There’s the physical and mental sensation of being you, which is what you (wrongly) consider to be your actual self. Then there’s The Alex Palmer Existence, which is a hazy and constantly changing image of what you are in the eyes of Alex Palmer.

I’d argue that the latter is actually your ‘true’ self. You might believe that you truly exist within yourself, that only you truly understand the real you. This is bunkum. I’m not saying that you have no say in what kind of person you are, but you actually only exist through how you interact with the outside world. If you ask all the people you know to describe you, then even if it greatly contravenes what you believe, it’s their opinion that’s going to be true. Trusting a person to be truthful about what they are is like me trying to find out if your pet dog is nice by asking the dog itself. The dog’s inner beliefs don’t matter, because it’s far too swayed by its overriding desire to eat and to lick its own genitals, very much like yourself.

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(…)

For example, if you asked me how big my penis is, I would say with typical modesty that it is rather humble. Not small per se, but definitely politely unimposing and considerate. However, if you asked my friends how big my penis is, they would actually confirm that it’s humungous, that they wonder how I even stay upright with that monster swinging from me, and that I must be the only man in history to ‘dress on both sides’. I’m saying that my friends are way more likely to be true, and my contact details are available on this blog.

But, I digress:

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29 Future: Future

Emptiness, Nihilism, Emptiness

No artist on this list (few that you’ll encounter on any of the lists I produce once a year by screaming at the unfairness of life and smashing my tearing ducts against the keyboard) have taken me quite as much time to truly understand than Future. Now way near as much time.

Firstly, Future (real name ‘Marty McFly’, so he thought he best play up to the assumptions of time travel) is simply extremely difficult to keep track of: he releases albums and mixtapes at roughly the same rate that you might decide it’s time to buy new shower gel. He released two albums this year, and I had to decide to cull ‘Hndrxx’ from NE2017 when it became clear space was premium, and I had to start considering proper vowel usage as a prerequisite. His 2016 mixtape ‘Purple Reign’ was also unlucky not to make the cut (kayfabe) last year (sadly, due to its obvious play to my affections). He even released another mixtape in late 2017, which, I mean, come on Future, give a guy a break!

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30 Alvvays: Antisocialites

The Only Socialising You’ll Need

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I like to think the 2017 Necessary Evil list has so far catered to a lot of different tastes and requirements:

You’ve had Mark Lenegan , for those who want gravelly voiced ginger reminding them of a time when rock music was really cool; you’ve had Lil Yachty, for those of you who want your hip-hop history disregarded and even defiled on top of saccharine pop beats; Lil Peep, for those of you who just want to soundtrack their own descent into drug-induced senselessness, overwhelmed by life’s cruel meaningless; Arca, for those of you who don’t really want to enjoy the music they listen to rather, have it drill its own importance into their cerebral cortex and splatter its definite artistic statement over the wall behind; and Björk, for the people who… erm… well I still haven’t quite figured out who that album’s for. Perhaps just Björk…

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(…)

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41 Shamir: Revelations

I Bet You Think This Album’s About You

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“You have a song/Which means you’re doing something wrong/Don’t think you’re special/’cause it’s about you”

On his second song from his second album* Shamir brilliantly showcases something quite perverse about the human psyche. Let’s imagine that I was once Shamir’s shitty ex-boyfriend: if I just left my clothes strewn across the hallway when getting undressed ready for bed; if I pretended to be, like, really into hip-hop as I felt it would somehow demonstrate affinity, and yet only ever listen to Lil Yachty on loop**; if every time I entered the house I’d bound over the sofa, snatch the remote from him and turn over from whatever faggy thing he was watching like ‘Narcos’ or ‘Gomorrah’ in order to immediately watch the highlights from last night’s WWE Raw (“No, Shammy***, you don’t understand! It’s being held in Chicago and, like, CM Punk is definitely going to make a comeback!”); whenever I’d finish the last of the milk I’d just put the carton back in the fridge; if I once acted surprised when he mentioned he’s black because I ‘Really, honestly don’t see colour’; if I said to friends that you ‘obviously’ didn’t vote for Trump; if I had an ‘All Lives Matter’ bumper sticker and don’t understand the problem with it; if I always had bad breath; if I was the absolute freaking worse. Then imagine if Shamir wrote a song outlining how big of a frickin’ arsewipe I was, basically just taking the 182 words above and making them rhyme (the fucking hack), and broadcast to all of his fans what a miserable waste of flabby-fucks-not-worth-giving I actually was. Have you ever thought how that would make me feel??

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46 Andrew Bird: Echolocations: River

Echoes of Locating a Cool Red

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Aaaaaah, Andrew Bird- ‘Birdo’ as I call him, or ‘Birdman’, or ‘Big Bird’, or ‘Slammin’ Andy’ if I’m not into the whole ‘feathery’ thing: we’re good friends- has been a repeat offender of past Necessary Evils. I occasionally forget about him for a few albums, but then discover his latest release and discover him still producing music of such consistent quality that I curse myself for ever letting him slip from my consideration. He’s like that cool uncle whose infreuent visits you always enjoy and, while he’s scoring you premium grade memthaphetamine and letting you rifle through his collection of vintage mid 1980s porno mags, you wonder why your parents never think of inviting him round more often

‘River’ is the second of his ‘Echolocations’ records and the first I’d been made aw

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been made aware of. The ‘Echolocations’ records are instrumental albums where The Birdmeister removes himself vocally from the process (meaning we lose a voice that, if we’re being honest, was never one of the main selling points of his music) and focuses on his incredible work with violins. I mean, there isn’t even any whistling on this album, which for a long time Birdometer fan is like playing the latest Lana Del Ray album and her never once either putting on or taking off a red dress. Each record’s name also points to the nature (geddit?) of field music that the collection is recorded under. The locations of the echoes you might be able to pick up: are you following? The first such collection was called ‘Echolocations: Canyon’, which was chiefly recorded in- get this- a canyon, and now ‘Echolocations: River’, recorded in an underpass next to the Los Angeles River.

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