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!
Just to let you know, dear reader, at times in this article it may sound like I’m derogating the general situation or decrying a loss of civility in wider society or lame things like that, but I am actually complaining about you personally, as your own behaviour is at the centre of what I’m talking about and it is completely within your power to address it. And, I’m sorry, but if you consider yourself left wing then you really are chiefly what I’m thinking of. We cool? We cool??
If you are left wing, you are (generally, generally, generally!!) concerned with supporting the community rather than the individual but also want the state to make it as easy as possible for a human being to express themselves freely and with a truly equal framework of opportunity. That’s cool and- you know what?- I probably agree with you. If you are right wing you are (generally! Gen-er-motherfuckin’-ly!!!) concerned more with allowing the more successful people as little impediments to their achievements as possible, you think the best state is one that interferes as little as possible, that things like high taxes and overzealous bureaucracy only discourages human potential. You (GENERALLY!!!!) thank that to support the less successful financially is actually just encouraging people to ‘do nothing’ and removes the impetus for them to truly excel. That’s cool. I don’t agree, but we both honestly believe that our positions on society are what’s best for either the good of the community/country/world or just, y’know, yourself and your own family. Maybe the latter’s more important to you. Maybe the former’s more important to me only because it will increase the good of the latter. Maybe we both think that the former plays a part in improving the latter but without the latter being dealt with the former has no chance but without the former being stabilised we don’t even have a latter but then what is the former if not just a larger collection of latters and the latter and the former both need to somehow work in synergy? Yes, that’s probably the one statement we can all agree with.
If this blog has one true aim, then it’s to introduce and promote new…
Well… no, actually, if this blog has one true aim then it’s to extensively psychoanalyse myself and admit my private shame into what I believe to be essentially ‘The Void’, all under the laughable pretense of ‘reviewing music’. Ha! I haven’t done any ‘music reviews’ since I was highly scathing as a twelve/six year old of the 1996 Dodgy album ‘Free Peace Sweet‘. Three piece suite! Now I get it! Sorry, Dodgy, that review was unnecessarily harsh. Reappraisal: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
OK, but if this blog had a secondary aim, then it’s to introduce and promote new artists to…
No, the secondary aim is just an excuse to talk about Manic Street Preachers as much as possible, isn’t it? With ‘Official Prince Chat’ sprinkled on the side as garnish. I might just rename the blog to ‘Artists I Liked When I Was a Kid, At Length (While I Wait for the Next Hotelier Album)’. Dot WordPress dot com.
“If it had a third purpose it’d be […] no actually it’d be [BANTER]. In that case the fourth purpose would be […] actually, it’d probably be [STONE COLD MEGALOLZ]. But the fifth purpose would definitely be… (repeat)”
One of the greatest/worst aspects of life in 2019 is how we all have the power to fine tune and curate exactly what world we live in, edit and personalise what news we hear and what bent ideology it pours from. When I was a bairn, the whole country basically had the same experience, all the time. We all heard Love Is All Around until we all wanted to ruthlessly and repeatedly embed a screwdriver deep into our own eardrums until the flowing blood hopefully drowned out Marti Pellow’s smirk (not me though, Love is All Around is a fuckin’ choon). We all watched Coronation Street last night, so could debate the meaning of Mavis Whooptuck performing a blood sacrifice in order to bring Harold Hupptickle back from the dead (my memories of Coronation Street are a bit cloudy, I’ll admit). Most importantly, we all got the same news. Sure, many people would still buy utter horseshit like the Sun or the Daily Mail- or The Guardian if they were a little more middle class and, let’s face it, a bit twatty- but we kind of all agreed that if it made it to BBC News, then it was likely correct. Likely due to laws restricting the bias of TV news in this country and the very charter of the BBC forbidding any bias or political inclinations in the news reporting. It’s, of course, not perfect*, it’s not always 100% observed, but it’s at least enshrined into law and aimed for, meaning that everyone always tuned into the TV news at the end of the day expecting them to brush the propaganda from the day’s events and tell us what really happened.
(*there were shocking scenes earlier this year when a BBC news reporter had the temerity to suggest that, growing up with an Indian mother and Mauritian father, racism was actually really gross and that Trump’s racist comments actually sounded very familiar. That’s how seriously we take impartiality- a woman of Asian descent isn’t allowed to call out the racist president for saying racist things and say that racism was bad. Apparently, a lot of viewers were still undecided on racism and didn’t want the crazy hippy idea that it was somehow a negative thing shoved down their throat. A white BBC news guy said similar things, but nobody complained about that, because… y’know…).
Why are we encouraged to state what ‘The Best [CULTURAL CONTENT] of the Year So Far’ is at the start of June? It isn’t half way through the year. It’s just over five months in. The Guardian stated what were the ‘Best albums of 2019 so far‘ on June 4th! That’s only 154 days into the year!! That’s only 42.19% of the way through!!! Unless I’ve forgotten how to work out percentages!!!! Which is very possible!!!!! Wow, I’m using a lot exclamation marks in this paragraph!!!!!!
Well, anyway, I want in. I want a mouldy old piece of that rotten SEO pie, though released far closer to the actual year’s mid point of July 2nd. I’m not going to list the best albums of 2019 though, because I already often struggle to think of things to write come December, and I don’t want to waste that awesome simile I’ve devised to explain my thoughts on the new Jonas Brothers album six months early. Be patient. It’ll blow your mind. So I’ve decided to list the best songs of the year so far, similar to what I did in 2016. Although this time I didn’t just want to add my feeble, narcissistic voice to the chorus of intellectual critics praising songs like Old Town Road or Sweet but Psycho. You already know these songs are great, yeah? So I’ve tried to shine light on amazing songs by amazing artists off (mostly) amazing albums that there’s a chance you might not have previously heard. Get investigating, yeah? They’re in pretty much the order I remember to list them, because, seriously, fuck lists.
(If you can’t bother reading, there’s a handy Spotify playlist for the illiterates)
Guys, this is the fifth post I’ve written today. You want me to again write at length how fucking awesome Young Fathers are? You already know they’re brilliant! Buy this freaking album! Reward them for their art!
Seriously, you guys, pay for your music. Pay for every album on this list. Support art, not ‘New Tech’.
Sometimes I envy NME. And The Guardian. And Pitchfork. And Melody Maker. And Q Magazine. And the Manchester Evening News. And Rolling Stones. I envy The Roling Stone’s money, but I don’t envy being them, as that would mean losing 50 years of my life and a complete morality lobotomy. And Crack Magazine.
How many others are there…?
And Kerrang. And the Telegraph And NME. I said that one, didn’t I? I envy it twice. And Mojo. And Uncut. And Mixmag.
I envy all these vessels of music journalism- to different degrees and holding it to varying degrees of importance- because, I don’t know if you ever noticed, but they manage to get their albums of the year list out at the actual end of the year!!
How do they do that?? I mean, even if Mojo is in a terrible place mentally, and is considering if it’s really worthwhile writing anything anymore, it still manages to garner up the motivation to try and and convince us that David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ was the best album of 2016 (nonsense, I have the science to prove it was actually 27th) on December 11th!! I didn’t even get around to explaining the truth until October 30th 2017!!
This placing is perhaps a little too high for Ms. Sawayama: her debut EP probably doesn’t actually have the fifteenth greatest collection of songs of 2017. Based on solely the actual musical merits it would still feature highly on Necessary Evil 2017, don’t get me wrong. Though perhaps it’d be awkwardly bumping body parts in the crowded economy section with the likes of Andrew Bird and Ghostpoet, rather than clinking champagne glasses in first class as she spreads her legs and guffaws with Lupe Fiasco over Moses Sumney‘s droll anecdote.
But if you think pop music is 100% about the music then you’re an indefensibly dull person. Great pop music isn’t just about great music: that’s definitely a large part of it, of course, perhaps even as much as 53%, but there are so many other factors involved.
It’s those other factors, those elusive forty seven percenters, that Rina Sawayama knocks comprehensively out of the park
Stewart Lee apparently likes to ensure his tour posters always contain the absolute worst reviews his act receives (mostly, it has to be said, culled from the Daily Mail). So if you were to see his latest tour advertised at your local ballroom, you wouldn’t just see the usual praise emblazoned across his photoshopped visage- not just the ‘Top of his game!’: Guardian, or ‘A melting chucklepot full of witty grits!’: Evening Standard, or ‘Blimey, he’s so much more clever than me!’: Independent- but also some of the kickings he receives that arrive chiefly from the other wing:
‘Is the joke that it’s not remotely funny’ Daily Express
‘We get it, Stew: you’re far more intelligent than us and by including such scathing reviews from the right wing press you’re attempting to draw concrete lines between you and ‘them’, and you’re intent on making your whole act about how much better you- and the audience smart enough to hear your dog whistle poster- are than the scum who read the Daily Mail and voted Brexit, and how the most important thing to do now is create unbreakable barriers between the two sides and create eternal disarray among the human race, we get it! Can we have our money back now?’ The Sun
‘Was he always that fat? He definitely didn’t used to be that fat, did he?’
At what age, on average, do you think your average adult comprehends that they’re not at all special? At what age would you expect a human would generally accept that their life is generally inconsequential to the universe’s relentless expansion and eventual disintegration?
Some scientists (bloody boffins! With their freaking glasses on and tweed sweaters! With their copies of the freakin’ Guardian tucked under their puny arms! Neeeeeeeeerds!!) suggest that this realisation comes when a young child looks into a mirror and first comprehends their own reflection, putting themselves for the first time as a small cog in the much wider spectacle of life, shattering the illusion that they were an omnipresent God overseeing random images flash by and gratefully being offered food and cleansing as thanks for God’s benevolent goodness. This is why, after first glimpsing themselves in the mirror, children immediately become calm, restrained and selfless members of the household, recognising how much more the family could achieve if they worked as a team. They’ll often start helping out with the dishes, and leaving positive Amazon reviews for baby wipes you purchased, believing that it’s the least they could do in 2018 to recognise such good value for money and outstandingly reliable delivery.