How many kisses do you put at the end of text messages? I don’t put any because I never text anyone because no one ever texts me and if I do text them they never text me back :(
Grimes was on Later with Jools Holland earlier on in the week, which you can view here. I felt she was OK. Not great but a few stations above good. I think this was her first live TV appearance and she did well with what is material and a set-up not entirely in tune with what a programme like Later usually gravitates towards (see: the performance from Alabama Shakes - a band who I assume were literally grown in a laboratory for Q Magazine readers - were on their natural stomping ground on an edition headed up by Jack White and Norah Jones, who were all, y’know, OK as well.)
“OK” is also the word I would use to describe Grimes’ 2012 LP Visions and it annoys even me because I’m a twenty-one year old guy who has been writing about music online (albeit in-often, as an amateur and to the interest of literally nobody) for like seven years so I should be beyond describing things as “OK” by now. But obviously I’m not, because to me Visions is an OK record and the above video is of an OK performance of “Genesis” and OK OK OK OK, w/e.
The core of my “OK” reaction to Visions kind of bugs me probably says more about myself than Grimes and I’m not even sure I can explain but here I go:
(Stick with me, please?)
First things first, Visions is a record which doesn’t quite sound like anything or anybody else. There’s lots of touchstones, influences and some basic comparisons to be noted and you wouldn’t struggle on where to place it on the contemporary Pitchfork approved indie music map (or is that an axis?): in an area close to Julia Holter and Zola Jesus but facing towards other post-modern, de-constructed Pop-with-a-capital-p acts like, I dunno, The Weeknd?, all of them just kinda hanging around in The Knife’s debris anyway. I’ll be honest in that I haven’t thought this particular diversion out. I digress. Point is, Visions doesn’t sound like anything else, I feel. (I also find it kinda tails off after the first few tracks into wallpaper but that’s not here nor there.)
My “problem” - why I see it just as OK - is that for all its uniqueness I don’t get any sense of personality from Grimes’ music. Now, don’t get me wrong; Claire Boucher seems like a cool, interesting person who gives a good interview and has a more-than-just-occasionally funny Twitter feed. But I don’t sense her in her music, which unsettles me actually. A lot of talk about Visions is about the warped and treated vocals but recent years have seen a wide range of bands and artist use similar tricks and still retain a sense of personality (see: Battles’ first album with, er, that dude who isn’t in Battles any more).
But just because I don’t feel Boucher’s personality in her music doesn’t mean I don’t detect any human presence whatsoever: indeed, Visions is defined by a peculiar humanness in its composition. The songs consist of these rough blocks of synths and drums and samples knocking against each other rather than being perfectly sequenced by some plug-in. Which I guess is why I find Visions’ lack-of-personality so distancing: I can tell a human being made this record, but who?!
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd then when I find that who in interviews and on Twitter and on TV with a giant fucking third eye on her forehead I’m left wondering where that person is in her music.
Now - reaching my point here, I feel/hope - the issue is “personality” is a weird thing to talk about, particularly in music. It isn’t tangible. It is flimsy. It can rely on how much you know about an artist and how much an artist reveals about themselves. The way I see it, you do some invisible calculations of a range of things in your head and come to what is probably a different result from everyone else who has completed the same calculations. At the very least that is a stupid thing to use as primary point of criticism in regards to music, right?
And yet I do that a fucking lot. Like, my entire justification, as it were, for liking Paramore is I think Hayley Williams is a fascinating personality. I don’t disagree with anyone that they produce clichéd, unimaginative pop-punk - but there’s someone interesting at the centre of it, at least to me. To me that all makes sense…..but should it?
There’s a bigger discussion to be had about lots of the language I’m using here, of course: I don’t need to justify liking Paramore or thinking Grimes is merely OK, I just feel like I should for some stupid reason. (Stupid reason = the internet.) And, yeah, at the centre of all this is the fact that enjoyment of music is an entirely subjective thing, and people who forget that when engaging in music criticism and discussion often create pretty shitty criticism and discussion. But I think/hope I’ve painted/pained out the area I’m trying to gesture at in a mad, slightly exasperated manner: I find Grimes to be just “OK”, mostly on the account of a lack of personality in her music, but at the same time I struggle with the idea of leaning so heavily on the concept of “personality” when talking about music as I also recognise how subjective and reliant on other factors “personality” in these terms really is.
I don’t have a conclusion - I only have my confusion. And a couple more hundred words on this than I meant to write! I’m going to bed now. Bye xxx
I saw (Marvel’s) Avengers (Assemble) last night. Here are some things I thought about it; no spoilers but I’ll hide it behind a READ MORE anyway:
pseudo-color answered your question: Earlier this evening I was on a train and since I… You asked her if she was alright and stood between her and the guy. You did all the right actions without going overboard.
amywinehands answered your question: Earlier this evening I was on a train and since I… You’re not terrible, at least you stood behind her when she was getting off!
I actually meant in regards to Tumblr-in’ about the incident, not the actual incident itself but…..er, is thanks the right word? Oh god, this little thing is going to be one of those stupid I things I go over-and-over again in my head for the next five years…
EDIT: Ugh, “incident”. That word is way too severe. Y’know what I mean.
Earlier this evening I was on a train and since I was only travelling one stop - an estimated five minute journey - I grabbed the first seat I saw. I didn’t realise that two of the other places (it was two pairs of seats facing each other) were taken by, to my side, a drunk dude and across from him a teenage girl obviously trying to ignore his drunken conversation. When I realised he was bugging her I turned my iPod off to keep an ear out. (This guy ignored me, for whatever reason.) The guy wasn’t being particularly creepy but he wasn’t shutting up. The girl had a text book with her which she was trying to read and once the guy picked up on it he started talking about how teachers didn’t know anything and he was “the Master”. At one point when the guy was talking I got the girl’s attention and mouthed “Are you OK?”. She smiled back at me so I guess she got what I was trying to say and she never seemed like she was too bothered by this guy. When the train stopped she got up pretty quickly and I made sure to stand behind her and put myself between the guy and her, letting other people off first so he couldn’t follow. (He did speak to me at this point, but only to ask if we were at the last stop.)
I feel kinda shit. Even if the girl didn’t seem too bothered and the guy wasn’t a totally creep (he didn’t pucker for a kiss in the way drunk creeps are fond of, at least not when I was sat there) I know I could have done a lot more to distract the guy. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to find out I try to avoid tense situations but I like to think if I was in a situation where someone was clearly harassing someone else I’d step in. (Indeed, I have done so before, albeit when I was with a friend who could back me up.) ….But then I remember whilst I say I would like to think I would step in, today I did see a girl getting harassed and I didn’t do anything, I just when home and blogged and can think about how bad I feel.
Fuck. Am I terrible person? I feel like a terrible person.
my drafts folder is empty, which is strange because i don’t remember getting drunk/hysterical and posting everything from in a fit of pointless, vaguely-aimed fury
I wanted to like this piece on FACT re: “crowd-funding” more than I actually did (I’m pretty sure the only reason Hype Williams get to be all weird is they make so little money from their music there’s no risk, but w/e) but I would say my cynicism towards Kickstart et al. probably lie in the point Finlayson makes in the final paragraph: I still want to be surprised by art and whilst I don’t think an artist coming to their fans cap-in-hand makes that impossible, funding a project through fan pledges can inject the type of expectations which make it difficult to view the art on its own terms.
oh man i wish i could actually quit this fucking shitty thing for good
I think I quote Charlie Brooker’s Guardian article every week cuz I’m a cliche?
Do you think when the Black Keys go into the studio to write a song they keep in mind which advert it’ll inevitably soundtrack?
You people may not give a shit but I’m a big deal on Chinese social networks
Record Store Day isn’t for me: I don’t buy music physically anymore (indeed, given how 75% of music I’ve acquired this year has been rap mixtapes I barely buy music at all) and there aren’t (m)any bands I feel so fanatically devoted to I’d covet a limited edition 12” vinyl of remixes. Still even with that in mind, something about it bugs me.
A large part of what annoys me is how it inevitably ends up like some sort of historical re-enactment of a time when people not just bought music but did so from places other than supermarkets (!) and the music was physical (!!) not just *spits* downloads. The “good old days”, y’know. Mainstream media attention usually focuses on that angle (see: the video at the bottom of this article, which was filmed in my local record store as it happens) and those aspects are always presented as a fundamentally Good Thing and, fine, I won’t argue too hard. After all, indie stores are usually run by great people and just because I don’t buy vinyl doesn’t mean I don’t accept its benefits in terms of sound quality and presentation.
The thing is Record Store Day in recent years has been defined by labels - major and indie - flooding the market with limited edition crap. The result is by this point the whole thing feel less like a reminder of those “good old days” of record store shopping and more of an extension of the status quo: is there really any difference between a label sticking a couple of B-sides on a 7” for Record Store Day and the pointless re-releases of mainstream pop albums album with an extra disc of trimmings? (Don’t get my started on labels releasing catalogue tracks on special edition singles for the day….)
The issue is I don’t see how Record Store Day as it currently stands actually celebrates record stores or the supposed special spirit of record store buying. Indeed, amid all the limited edition releases other - mostly romantic - notions of record store buying are lost. Where exactly is room for that the fabled process of discovering a diamond in the stacks if you queue up equipped with a laundry list of wanted items? How can you discuss your favourite band with the like-minded clerk if they’re too busy Tweeting about how busy it is and dealing with people really annoyed they didn’t get there in time to pick up that Animal Collective 12”? Increasingly I find Record Store Day is divorced from even the slightly dubious things it claims to actually celebrate.
By this point I doubt labels, stores and most fans are under any illusions about what Record Store Day has evolved to become since it launched in 2008: an annual cash in on fan obsessiveness wrapped in romantic notions about what music ownership is actually about. If you’re cool with that, fine - but I simply can’t get behind it. I’ve aired these criticism to people before and I’ve been shot down as cynical but to me Record Store Day is absolutely drenched in cynicism.
Then again I’m the one currently hunting down for MP3s of the new St. Vincent single. Maybe I should have woken up early this morning and headed down to my local record store….
Bit sad I deleted that quiz I did the other night because now it seems everyone is soliciting numbers for it #Tumblrtrendsetter
if nothing exciting happens soon i’m going to have do a stupid fucking quiz
I wonder what Joseph Gordon-Levitt is doing right now. Probably something awesome.
A man came to fix a cabinet in the kitchen earlier and when we made small talk he asked if I was off for half term and I was like “Er, I graduated university last summer….” and he seemed actually surprised. How young did he think I look?!
did you see him interviewed on top gear? he came off as very intelligent, and revealed whole new entrepreneurial and charitable sides to his character that i hadnt really thought he’d be. but yes that music was atrocious but thevoice is an idiot show
I always leave the room for the Star In The Reasonably Priced Car bit on Top Gear because I hate how sycophantic Jeremy Clarkson gets (remember the time Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were on and it was basically half an hour of Clarkson telling them how famous they were. Urgh…). But, yeah, if will.i.am has a entrepreneurial and charitable side then good on him. I mean, he is still an idiot but at least that suggests he is an idiot who cares.
The Voice is a great show, wash out your mouth! I was going to write a really/relatively big post on it but I know nobody cares. I only watched about half the first episode, then three quarters of the second and then all of last and this week’s so it must be doing something right. It isn’t as cynical or calculating as any of Simon Cowell’s ITV freak-shows (which I still love) and a little more boring than Britain’s Got Talent because of that but sometimes you need something a little bland in your life. (Maybe, I don’t know. My whole life is a non-occurrence.)
The Voice - or to give it its proper hastag, #TheVoiceUK - has done the impossible and made me not hate will.i.am. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like him or his music and would probably still rank The Black Eyed Peas’ run of singles staring with “Boom Boom Pow” as probably the greatest atrocity committed in the 21st century so far, but I don’t hate him anyone. Instead I have realised that will.i.am is an idiot. Now, this may be obvious to anyone who has ever read how he spells his name but for me I always thought his crass cynicism and pointlessness outweighed his idiocy. In his role as “mentor” on The Voice I have realised how wrong I was: he is just an idiot. Like, tonight he said “I don’t have tactics - I have tic tacs cuz I’m fresh” which is a totally stupid thing to say! Likewise his appearance as what I can only describe as resembling a fake Chinese doll of will.i.am is the mark of an idiot. And that’s fine! Being an idiot is a lot better than a manipulative dick head, which is how I’d see him previously.
So carry on being stupid, will.i.am, for I no longer wish you’d just die :)
Closing and then reopening my Ask box so I have a question from Tumblrbot
I find it a bit hypocritical for Rick Santorum to abort his campaign, no matter how unwanted it was.
its hard to make friends when you’re my age and don’t have any because aside from the practical difficulties of where to meet to people and stuff, people eye you suspiciously because you’ve gone two decades plus and not managed to make a substantial emotional connection with another human being
fuck anyone who is good at anything
fuck highlighting posts; tumblr should have a function which comes up when you’re browsing some 15 year old girls page at 3am in the morning telling you to stop acting like that just go the fuck to bed