Ow! No, seriously, owowowowow! I can actually barely type right now, both my arms are seriously kejiggerd. Owwwwww! After the (I think we’ll all agree, era-defining) Magdalena Bay post, I went downstairs to get a new cup of tea. My dopy, disabled, Cauda fricking Equina infested body wasn’t paying enough attention to its much compromised balance, I slipped on the stairs and fell down the fucking lot of them!
So, although I planned to write about the wonderful CHVRCHES return to form tonight, I am in no physical shape to perform my usual duties, so I’ll be leaving it until tomorrow. I’m still going to leave this bit in though, because I am meta as fook, you hear?
Some people really rate ‘The Life of Pablo’. Not me, personally. I think it has cheeky splashes of genius amongst its giant conceptual mess, but if we were to compare it to an actual Picasso it would be a part way beautiful Les Demoiselles d’Avignon only with each of the women’s faces replaced by flaming poo emojis, some pencil sketchings still unfilled and a blank canvas for the unfinished bottom third. I did and do really rate ‘Ye’, which is a wonderfully concise and incisive record concerning West’s mental struggles and his first emotionally raw and conscious presentation of his bipolar disorder. But not everyone agrees. Few people agree. And it was largely ignored at the end of year back slapping events, with it still today scoffed at as a undercooked and uninspired minor addition to his canon. Everyone hated ‘Jesus is King’ because that was a fetid pile of donkey faeces. We all agree on that. It’ll soon be nine years since West released a largely agreed upon classic record. Apart from everyone loved 2018’s amazing ‘Kids See Ghosts’ album, but let’s ignore that or lay it 100% at the feet of Kid Cudi, because otherwise my snappy and incisive introductory paragraph doesn’t make sense.
(these are all fan made versions of the ‘Donda’ album cover, by the way, because I thought you all deserved to see what a bit of fucking effort looked like)
You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:
This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soonby My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.
Yeah, sorry, no more Bumble Rumble. Possibly… ever…? Listen, I’ve pretty much decided that I hate Zero Hour dating- I happen to still believe that I’m relatively attractive, so to have an app on my phone that frequently reminds me that I’m actually not is not good at all for my already inflated yet easily pricked sense of self-esteem. For now, my official stance is that I know that I’m a highly fuckable piece of hunky man meat who could grind genitals with pretty much any woman he wants, but I just choose not to, OK?? The official stance is that I’ve decided to concentrate on the more important things in my life, such as this blog- which has never been more popular- and my actual job- which I’m technically supposed to be doing now*. Remember this blog? It used to be about music, didn’t it? I mean… kinda… Let’s do that again. Basically, it’s time for:
Just wanted a photo with my eyes in it. Have they always been that colour? More after the jump!!
Just… gorgeous. ‘Bigness’ seems almost like it was intended as something of a wry, ironic name, as Mr Darling deals in ostensibly small scale music. His songs can initially seem so slight, polite, inoffensive and casual, all linked with a voice so hesitant and unassuming that it’s the volume and urgency that a fruit fly might adopt if it wanted to get the waiter’s attention at Costa Coffee to inquire as to what was taken its Hazelnut Praline & Cream Latte so long but didn’t want to make too much fuss. The tags that the album is identified with on Bandcampare alternative; bedroom pop; christchurch; new zealand; pop; indie; indie pop; Christchurch, which tells you one thing… Well no, it firsts lets you know that Pickle Darling is from Christchurch, New Zealand, as he’s so keen for you to realise that that he states it twice, but the second thing that the tags tell you is that ‘Bigness’ is a bit of a cheery, unassuming and- in the words of Helltown– ‘bedroom bullshit‘ kind of record. It’ll be fine. It’ll be cheery, a little bit twee but well meaningfully pleasant. Most of all though, it’ll be small.
Hey! I wrote a big review of this album when it came out! What, you want me to cut and paste all those words here?? Jesus, your sense of entitlement is actually rather worrying. I’m not angry, I’m just… learning things about you…
I’ll just add one little story. One of my friends actually subscribes to my blog. Like, literally I think, one of my friends. That’s how fucking useless my friends are. Honestly, if you take away the option of offering them an excuse to get drunk (even if you keep stressing to them that, even if you don’t drink, you really fucking want them to, because they’re such overwhelming dullards when they’re sober!) you’ll find that many of your friends don’t actually care that much about you. Anyway, my one true friend, the one who actually reads this piece of shit blog, noticed that my latest masterpiece was titled ‘Govier Forces a Little Exception of His Own’ and asked me if I was making political posts now. I just said ‘No’, that ‘Govier’ was the name of the artist, and we moved on. Much, much later, I started to get puzzled by what exactly about that particular title might have led him to believe that it was political, and I think by now too much time has passed for me to reopen the inquiry to attempt to discover…
Michael Gove!! He thought it was about Michael Gove. Well, that’s been solved, and I hope the Michael Gove reference in my latest Miley Cyrus review helped quench that particular thirst. Wow, turns out I really didn’t have anything to talk about for this entry…
Phew, that last entry was a bit of a mess, wasn’t it? Barely mentioned the (excellent) song and just flew off into TMI land. It won’t be the last time that happens, I’ll often have something to get off my chest that I feel can’t wait until December, but I always feel that there has to be some overarching ‘point’ to each entry and this series is literally the only outlet I have for that. At least until I get around to starting ‘Sing of the Thrill’ [TITLE TO BE CONFIRMED], my long promised/threatened King of the Hill episode by episode retrospective that’s currently the second most eagerly anticipated literary operation behind George RRRRRR Martin’s ‘No, No, No, This is What Was Supposed to Happen!’. To make up for Entry #4, this time around I’m actually just going to talk about one of the greatest songs ever for a thousand words or so, all tangents and flights of fancy will be kept to an absolute minimum, and if anything I’ll be undersharing, yeah? We cool? We cool.
This post contains a lot of information cribbed from Simon Reynolds’s fantastic Pitchfork article from last year. I might call him a ‘contributor’, but the fact is that he’s very likely to sue me for royalties once the money starts rolling in.
What makes a pop star/musical artist an actual star? What makes them compelling? What makes them inspirational? What makes them essential? What exact element compels you to drop to your knees and pledge eternal allegiance to some pop stars, making an oath that even if they were to release autotuned snippets of gas being released from their intestinal tract you would crawl naked over broken glass to purchase it the second it’s released? What renders them different from those artists who are given short tenancy in your consciousness, occupying next to no time in your thoughts and plans outside the three to four minutes it takes for their music to pass between your ears?
If you’d said ‘the music’, you’d be completely wrong. You’re an idiot and I never want you to talk to me again. Yes, that’s it, turn your chair around. Bow your head. Think about how fucking stupid you are.
Mmmmmmmmmmlet’s talk about cultural appropriation.
Zeal and Ardor are one of my favourite bands. In fact, I’d go as far as calling them my favourite Swiss band. They combine black metal with ‘negro spirituals’, the bracing gospel music sung by the black slaves in the early 19th century. What’s your initial reaction to hearing that? Are you OK with it? Are you straight up against it? Do you think that merely the fact that the band are Swiss makes any use of music born from American cruelties automatically cultural appropriation? Do you want to fnd out a little more about the band before deciding your reaction? Are you immediately against it because you assume the band is white?