Monday, December 14, 2015

unpublished singles going steadies

Sia- “Alive”

Throughout this song, I kept thinking that it reminded me of the MOR-leaning tunes that have defined Rihanna’s late career.  Now, I see on the Wikipedia page
for this song that the tune was actually written for Rihanna, who rejected it.  I kept thinking that its middling verses and its big dramatic chorus bluster would make it a huge hit, and now I see that it was written by Adele, the queen of transforming such bland histrionics into unavoidable smashes.  It all makes sense now.  If you want your pop music to make sense and reaffirm bygone “survivor” tropes from 10 years previous, then here’s the track for you.  Sia is alive, as in she is present. Let’s stop being present and be future.  Let’s stop making sense.

Animal Collective- “Floridada”

Around Centipede Hz, people had overdosed on the collective, which is understandable.  It was not their strongest LP, but neither was the previous record which won them profound accolades for essentially arriving at the right moment in history.  That moment correlated with an explosion of weird tapes and assorted digitrash posing as pop to flood the overground in waves of chills and thrills.  The ramifications of that flood are still being felt today in the most challenging and essential releases of 2015, so this critic in particular at least owes Animal Collective a great deal of gratitude for their contribution the sonic haze.  That said, “Floridada” sounds as much of a sunny-side parody of A.C. as you could get.  It screams “zany” from every angles from its sing-songiness to its “Florida Man”-isms on over to its Sufaris sample.  They’ve sure leaned in to their inner hippy quite a bit.  Maybe I’m just bitter because this is so off-season.   I’ll let it slide for now.  The rest of the album better spike the rest of all this goddamned sunshine with the bitter wine of melancholy though.


Zibra- “Wasted Days”

In the spirit of our era, there are two potential readings of this music video; living for the love of the common people or mocking them in their delight.  The chord progression is similar enough to The American Authors’s  “The Best Day of My Life” that it could even substitute as a lazy inversion of it, complete with obnoxious hooted hook.  “Best Days” vs. “Wasted Days”.   Does the band care?  Is there any intentionality behind this other than for the song to grind itself into you?  If in 6 months this is playing at a pub just like the own depicted, will the mission have come full circle?  Whether or not we all fall down, time will tell.


Wolf Alice- “Freazy”

Swirls of fluffy lite-psychedelia that is catchy as sin.  Begrudgingly, I’m sold.  I trust that the cassingle is still available in Earth Traders next to the Manic Panic?  Or should I just call 1-800-MUSIC-NOW?


Lana Del Rey- “High By the Beach”

Born to Die’s string swells were designed to crawl up your legs and creep into your feels, but  Lana Del Rey has since forgone them in an attempt to modernize her retro pop malaise. In dropping the emotional guidance of her cinemascope purview, she’s revealed her bourgie range to be way closer to Miss Kittin’s than, say, Blossom Dearie. To those of use for whom Lana is not the goddess but also not the antichrist, “High By the Beach” may be the perfect place to situate her vaguely disaffected tonality.  It doesn’t offer much, but it doesn’t demand much. All it wants to do is get high by the beach, get high by the beach and maybe spout out the most dispassionate use of “bad motherfucker” ever captured on record.  How you feel about this will depend on your perception of the value in half-decent M.O.R., which has always been Del Rey’s core strength.  Has there been any better M.O.R. than “Summertime Sadness” since “Rhiannon”?  “High By the Beach” is not of that caliber, but surely of the canon.  I always saw Born to Die, along with Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” video and maybe Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, representing a Verhoeven-esque cultural shift, a desire to break free from hegemony, to teeter into neoliberal critique but with only the limited vocabulary of  the hedonic economy of desire to convey this conflicted stance.  She may not be the feminist icon we’re looking for, but there’s still much she can teach us about our failures.   Revolution is hard. It lacks the appeal of getting high by the beach, getting high by the beach, getting high. No one captures the tragedy of being so blissfully useless better.  [5/10]


COMA- “Lore”

This sounds exactly like the softened, numbed, and generally lifeless thing you could expect from a once-vibrant label pushing 15.  Are those tech-house hangers-on really freaking for new releases with muffled bass and dry, dull indie singers diluting the mix or do they secretly just go back to the original Rex the Dog records like everybody else?  It’s that type of archeological inquiry that most strikes me since there’s little else of interest to latch onto here.  I suppose this would be halfway pleasant if left as an instrumental.  Swap the mollies for some Percocet and couch yourself in the waiting room for 5 minutes before Mr. Voigt will be right out to see you. [3/10]

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