‘Magdalene’, despite it often raising both the tempo and intensity, sounds like one, thirty nine minute cry of exasperation. Isn’t this enough? Do you all somehow want more? Didn’t I, as it were, do it, if you will, for, one could argue, you?
FKA Twigs is looking at the consequences of her labour, both emotional and physical (something something fibroid tumours something something “fruit bowl of pain“), and is at once incensed and dejected that it’s seemingly all been for nothing. Her sacrifices in the past mean nothing now and she’s not the one who gets to decide how she’s perceived. No matter how much she learns to love herself, her body, and whomever else decides to share that love at certain points, they can all turn against her at whim and make all of this adoration seem wasted. “Sure, Alex”, I hear you craw, not deigning the situation important enough to stop shoving food into your fat mouth as you speak to me so that with every vowel sound I can see disgusting mushes of Tangy Cheese Doritos swirling around your decaying teeth, “you’re an amazing, Pulitzer-Prize level writer and I, for one, am enthralled, but what’s this all got to do with Mary Magdalene, that tart with the heart who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair, the filthy tramp, and who Dan Brown tells me painted The Last Supper, or something?”
OK, fair warning- maybe even a trigger warning, but I’ve got to be careful because some people get so fucking angry when you word a content warning that way*- but this post might go to some pretty dark places. I mean, I’m just going to talk about my life a bit, which is always going to be a bit dark, isn’t it? For you, I mean. I’m alright with it, I fucking live with it, but I appreciate how some people might get a bit uncomfortable. These people can just read my Princess Nokia bit again, that was pretty funny. I’m going to use the brilliant ‘B/X’ album as a jumping off point to talk about how I was ‘freed from my body’, then masterfully bring it back at the end to Don’t Do It Neil. It’ll be a fucking amazing post, and I don’t know why more people don’t read this blog, it’s fuckin’ straight fire.
(*because some people- and I can’t stress this enough- are fucking dumb)
Yeah, I know, continuing my proud tradition of naming the year’s best movie alongside the albums of the year countdown. ‘Under the Skin‘ was named 2014’s movie of the year, but the award went unclaimed in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and indeed every year before 2014. However, the (latest) masterpiece by Ken Loach, ‘Sorry We Missed You,’ was such a powerful piece that inspired such painful bolts of recognition and sheer fucking anger that I had to make space in 2019 to talk about it.
Oh, and by the way, this isn’t going to be one of those “Ooooooh, look at the camera angles! isn’t the mise en scène lovely?! Hints of Akira Kurosawa’s vagina dentata, perhaps??” reviews, as I have no interest in actually talking about the movie. Instead, these is mainly going to be a thousand words or so of me ranting about the twisted nature of capitalism in 2019. Like I said, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Has this even been a decade? Like, other decades were definitely decades, weren’t they? The 70s were definitely a decade, I’ve seen pictures. It was all flared jeans and Ashton Kutchers. I remember the 80s, it was all primary colours and He Man toys. Except I’m 29 years old, which now unfortunately means I was born in 1990, so I don’t actually remember the 80s. Shame.
The NINETIES though! Remember the NINETIES?! That was an unarguable ‘decade’! There was a undeniable vibe to the 90s. The 90s was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air doing the Macarena after scoring the winning penalty against Ginger Spice in the Euro 96 quarter finals. Remember that? It definitely happened and was definitely 90s!!
I turned 16 (or possibly 10) three days before the year 2000, and since then life doesn’t really deal in decades or conveniently distinct periods of time anymore. Every decade, every year, every day is now a seemingly unending trudge through hideous adulthood. Life and popular culture just trundles off in a different direction and your major marking points become all the more onanistic and self-centred. I started getting fucking old. And when you’re fucking old you’re beaten down by capitalism’s endless rat race that you don’t even fucking care what year it is.
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)
Fuck… I’m not going to finish this before tonight, am I…? Yeah, it’s gonna have to be a three parter. Sorry… 22-11 is here
10: 2018 Women’s MITB
I was all set to start this entry off by explaining the massive caveat in the room. I was planning to sit you all down, make you all a nice soothing drink, lightly tickle you all round the back of the ear and in a cool, calming voice explain that no, this almost definitely isn’t really the tenth best MITB ladder match of all time. As I sensually stroked your inner thighs to calm your righteous sense of injustice I would explain how aware I was of rating the first two female MITB matches as scientifically the weakest two in the stipulation’s history, and how I must have been subconsciously desperate to rank their third go around highly in order to address this imbalance. I’d kiss your cheek as I explained how dreaded context meant it was important to slightly overrate a match that would probably be deemed little better than par for the course were it contested by people each holding a presumed pair of testicles and a thick, veiny and lipsmackingly tempting schlong swinging between their legs*. As your boorish fury at men being discriminated against once again built up, I would try and save matters by explaining that the ridiculously high placing was more in appreciation of how a perfectly serviceable ladder match was managed to be put together by wrestlers with next to no experience in the stipulation, at only the third try. As you angrily and loudly threw furniture around the room and fired off multiple Reddit posts asking whether it was even legal to talk about men any more, I would tearfully explain how I didn’t want all three female MITB matches to float around the bottom of this list, and by far the best of these three was ranked so high as mainly a symbolic recognition of great strides made. However, it’d be too late. By that point, I’d have already been officially and forever deemed a shameless ‘White Knight‘, and political correctness will have decisively gone mad.
(*apart from [WRESTLER], ammi right, lads?! I’ll let you make your own joke their, as I am unarguably better than that, whereas you are patently not)
“My pussy teaching 9th grade English/My pussy wrote a thesis on colonialism/In conversation with a marginal system/In love with Jesus”
When Noname released her second album back in some time in the past (there really is no way of knowing), Amazon offered the opening (and possibly best) track, Self, to listen to as a sample. Early in the song she states “Y’all really thought a bitch couldn’t rap huh?/Maybe this your answer for that, a crack era/The Reagan administration that niggas are still scared of?”, and being the sucker I am for commentaries on the (still) worst US President of the modern era. Soon afterwards, she utters the aforementioned bang up the elephant line that you really should be well aware of by now, and I was sold. I immediately chucked £7.99 at Noname and her scholarly vagina. I later found out that she was also on Bandcamp, so purchased it again in the assumption that she was likely to see a lot more of the money, judging by the amount of cash Amazon siphoned off when I published a couple of books a couple of years ago. For that reason, ‘Room 25’ is the only 2018 album that could be considered so good that I bought it twice.
The thing is though, what does that line actually mean?
Before I start- even though by writing this I am actually starting, and it’s therefore impossible to write anything before I start because I will always be starting however I decide to claim that I am adding something before I start and so something can never be written before I start- I’d just like to let you know that I’m actually writing this entry while at work at the Manchester Refugee Support Network. After you’ve read this (hopefully short) entry, you can decide for yourself whether it was worth the incalculable numbers of Manchester refugees who suffered due to my lack of attention. Just keep that in mind.
Longtime readers of this blog (hi, Mum!*) will know I have a bit of an obsession with Lil Yachty. I honestly think he’s a fascinating figure who has the sufficient lack of self-awareness and disregard for the supposed former statesman and accepted tropes of his genre that he could potentially create something very special. His sound is obnoxious, flagrantly disrespectful and nonchalantly artless. But then, I’m a depressingly old white idiot: the sound of 2018 should sound borderline offensive to me! Lil Yachty is 21 years old, he’s already released one stone cold classic song (fight me) and a patchy and imperfect debut album that nonetheless showed flashes of the buoyant/obnoxious/genius/overjoyed style that is all his own and that could see him take over the world before too long, to the fabulous irritation of old farts everywhere. Whether you like it or not, this was evolution and it was frickin’ exciting!
(*My Mum has far too much self-respect to read my blog. Only people with a base level of pitiful self-respect would ever waste time reading this shit. Yeah, I’m talking about you. Aunty Cheryl, however, loves it! She is, however, a shameless crack cocaine addict and, if I’m being completely honest, has been dead for 12 years next April)
Four albums in, and two of the artists have debilitating issues with capitalisation (stef shares similar disregard for proper nouns to american poetry club). The only two artists from America, make of that as you will. Is this the Donald Trump effect? In fact, if any human being on Earth loves capital letters, it’s The Trump, so maybe these artist’s refusal to capitalise is a subtle form of process. Fair enough, as you were…
I don’t think I had as much of a personal relationship with any artist on this year’s list as I had with stef chura. Back in early 2018 I was relatively new to Bandcamp, which is one of the Greatest Things Ever that I really don’t have time to talk about here (I’ll save that for an album where I can’t think of what to write about- there’s plenty of those coming up). I was initially overwhelmed by this new tool that was seemingly offering me endless opportunities to hear new music from artists not even yet big enough to have had held discussions over the exact makeup of the band’s logo*, artists so obscure that even if the singer committed suicide it would only make even the local news on a really slow news day, that I didn’t really know where to start. I followed a few people, hoping to get suggestions from their own opinions rather than go through the laborious task of forming my own.
(*Every band should have a logo. Listen, this isn’t a debate, I’m just telling you a fact. If you haven’t yet got one you’re obviously not taking your art seriously enough. I’ll accept that some artists might not have had the time yet, but if you’re on your third album and still logoless then you’re showing offensive disregard for your own brand. Did Steve Jobs die for nothing?**)