4 Little Simz: Grey Area

I say it with my chest and I don’t care who I offend, uh huh, ha

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??

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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 (generallyGen-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.

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8 Sharon van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow

Considering neither The Manic Street Preachers or Lupe Fiasco were scheduled to release an album in 2019, I don’t think I was looking forward to any record this year as much as Ms Van Etten’s fifth. Her fourth, ‘Are We There’, was one of the three albums released in 2014 that were legitimate GOAT contenders and all kinda given my joint album of the year. It was such an amazingly accomplished and powerful record, one that moved the more eloquent reviewers to state that it was “an absolutely devastating Sturm und Drag bulldozer of emotion, a sharp piercing blade of hopeless heartache that is as heartbreaking and moving as any movie you’ve seen since ‘Toy Story 3“. I have to assume that Toy Story 3 was still totally a topical reference point when that prodigiously insightful yet dangerously sexually alluring reviewer wrote that. While I spend all of my time excruciatingly droning on about how artists/people should be constantly evolving and pushing their sound/personality forward, I often catch myself just hoping that artists responsible for my favourite things will just do those favourite things again! Hey, Jazz Cartier, why isn’t the new album just Red Alert ten times?? Hey, Tegan and/or Sara, why aren’t you just giving me Walking With A Ghost?? Lil Yachty!! Why are you… why are you… Why are you doing any of this…? I… I’m not sure what exactly I want from you… But do that, please. Do Minnesota again, that’ll cheer me up. Sharon van Etten! I can’t wait to see where you take your sound and evolve your music on this new album! But, having said that, please make it exactly the same record as ‘Are We There’! You can, I dunno, add a few trap beats to a couple of songs and have track eight heavily influenced by Hardware, but make sure that, at the base level, it’s exactly the same as ‘Are We There’!! Give me those exact feels! Reach into my bloodied chest and tear out all of those emotions like you did in 2015!!

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‘Remind Me Tomorrow’… isn’t that record. It’s an incredible reimagining of what weight, muscles and undeniable gall bladders* her songwriting can achieve. Synths blast all over the place like the sounds of invading forces damaging the outer wall of the claustrophobic shelter she’s built herself to evade the apocalyptic terror of her mind outside. The first line of the album is ‘Sitting at the bar I told you everything/You said “Holy shit, you almost died!” and the following songs act as almost a flashback, telling the listener exactly what these near fatal experiences were. It’s an amazing album. Look above, it’s the eighth best album of the year. It was considered for number one, but holy shit, you’re about to see how hotly contested that accolade is this year. Like I said, every top ten album is merely different levels of essential. Buy them all, you cheap fuck.

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27 El Perro Del Mar: We Are History

We are all history now. Me writing this is creating an (unimaginably minuscule) part of history. When you read it and go on Twitter to gush to all your girl mates about how darn adorable I am, you’re creating history. Even when you hold your nightly WhatsApp reading group to debate the day’s findings on the Necessary Evil blog you are, in a small way, writing history. When Sarah Assbring (El Perro Del Mar’s guiding force) got tired of me direct messaging her with the latest “I’d like to bring your ass” play on words that I’d managed to think up, and successfully applied for a restraining order online, she became a part of history.

 

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This is a fact. It has many positive consequences- I like making history all up in that prick Jamie’s face whenever he’s such an indefensible noob at COD- and many negative ones. For an example, I had to cancel my planned Christmas trip to Scandinavia because it would bring me within twelve hundred miles of Sarah Assbring’s Gothenburg home. I have also thought of exactly twenty seven new plays on her name that she might never get to hear. Oh! Twenty eight!

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39 Ariana Grande: Sweetener

“Once I have you, I will never let you, never let you”

I feel quite sorry for Ariana Grande. ‘Sweetener’ is an absolutely brilliant album, and the jokes about my ‘TDE’ (Tiny Di… yeah, you got that joke, didn’t you?) would write themselves. It sees Grande finally locate an identity for herself, and honestly contains some of the best and most subtly experimental mainstream pop music released this year. I’m just going to use this review to talk about Hejjy again though. First ISIS, now this: poor girl just can’t catch a break.

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Buckle up!

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