Author’s Note: The provenance of the phrase history is written by the victorious is disputed. But what can attribution achieve in this instance? The sentence (or sentiment) must surely have been uttered or thought by many prior to the origin we seek, and also ex post facto by many unaware of their plagiarism. The point remains that the marginalised have, historically, been denied a voice. When you are dead or imprisoned, uneducated or denied access, putting forward your version of events becomes problematic. Once something has been destroyed, only those left standing can rebuild, and do so with the only tools available to them: theirvision.
It could be said that, to some extent, in the real-time networked world we have awoken in this side of the millennium, more people than ever have the ability to make themselves heard. But what do we find now that the curtain has…
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So I thought I’d choose 5 songs I listened to on repeat at various points in 2016. They aren’t new songs because that would involve listening to new music and the type of cool I am involves being so cool that I don’t need to be current; in fact, I can be several years behind the times.
And when I say on repeat I generally mean for 2 hours in a row. Man, OCD is useful for some stuff.
Grimes- Kill Vs Maim
Grimes had passed me by (see above) until I put myself through the Sisyphean task of listening to Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of 2015. This song is incredible. In every way.
The video, however, makes me think that Grimes might have the worst taste in everything (clothes, fashion, ideas for videos) but it really helps that she’s a bonafide genius.
She breaks down the song on Song Exploder and the ideas behind the song are as batshit crazy as you’d wish.
Jim Sullivan – Johnny
I’m a sucker for a good story. Obscure singer songwriter Jim Sullivan recorded this album with a bunch of session musicians and then disappeared into the desert with his guitar never to be seen again leaving a wife and child in his wake. The song is also pretty much just three chords and three different keys. mmmmm.
His voice is amazing, the production is kind of Lee Hazelwood meets Wichita Lineman and it’s about someone called Johnny flying away for ever. Of course, I love it.
Haim – If I could Change Your Mind
When I was first played this I thought “rubbish Madonna rip off” with icy/glossy production. Then… I dunno. It’s still very Madonna influenced but it’s pretty much pop perfection. Also the album’s (almost) all killer no filler. Thanks Amyas!
I can only apologise to Adam and Max who had to hear this song every 20 minutes as we recorded our soon to be ̶i̶n̶c̶r̶e̶d̶i̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶h̶i̶t̶ exist album.
Also, I’ve just realised it shares a title with a Sugar song and Sugar are awesome.
Sufjan Stevens – The Only Thing
It’s Sufjan, it’s pretty. It’s about the paper thin thing stopping him killing himself… dunno that kind of resonates with me for some reason. It reminds me of when I lived in Brighton and I asked the guy who used to give me a lift to work to drive his car off the pier every morning. He never did.
Belle And Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby
I didn’t want to put this on the list, I really didn’t but it would be dishonest for me not to. You see, I listened to it 20 times in a row over the past few days in my car. Is it Belle and Sebastian’s best song? Not even close…but I like the arrangement a lot I suppose? Glitter band drums and the keyboard/trumpet is awesome. Plus it also demonstrates my theory that middle 8s exist solely for you to enjoy the rest of the song more when it comes back in.
Merely arbitrary signs used to convey meaning both complex and simple (what we in the postGood world like to call “Comple”).
How can we possibly use them to express ourselves? Well, now that you ask, we either ululate them or write them or occasionally blink them, too, if someone happens to watching carefully for our hidden meanings carefully concealed but obvious to all those who have at least a passing knowledge of the solution of 1979’s Masquerade and will find themselves carrying on what seems like a converstaion about one thing on a surface level but reveals itself to be something completely different like that bit in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Naked Lunch – which isn’t really an adapatation so much as a loose assemblage of biography and Burroughs’ entire oeuvre – where Peter Weller, Robocop 1 and 2 (but not 3) , talks to that guy in the casbah and the guy reveals to him that although they look like they’re talking about one thing to the outside world, to themselves even, they’re actually telepathically communicating about something else, something only one party (Weller as Burroughs, not the other one) realises and is privy to, and that’s what you must do when you talk to me, watch my eyelids for those backwards (sorry they’re always backwards) messages that my subconscious screams at you whilst, I, calmly and rationally am telling you about how the weather looked like it was going to be sunny when I woke up so I didn’t bring a brolly but now it looks like it’s turning again and… but watch the eyelids, surreptitously jot down the dashes and the dots and then flip it, what have I really been saying this whole time, aye, anyway must dash, toot toot, pip pip…
We’re recording a new album and here are some fun pictures Rachel Barker took of us.
Had I ever heard of them before: very hard not to’ve.
Reductive First Impression: Not at all a first impression as I’ve been listening to this for over a year. It’s a good album. The first few songs are great. Lamar is a passionate, dextrous rapper and listening to him is fun. It’s eclectic.
It’s way too long. Which is my complaint about most albums and every hip hop album ever.
I also think he sounds abit like Quasimoto. I googled it. I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Will I listen to it again: yeah, I’m a fan.
Had I ever heard of them before: yes, Jamie XX seems to have been mentioned in every thing I’ve read since, ummm 2010. Which was 6 years ago. holy crap.
Reductive First Impression: hmmm, this is is very much a “producers” album – as are most of the things on this list. This makes me wonder, is the band dead? Honestly? Is cut and paste, mix and match the future of music? Not a bad thing at all, but it’s not what I do or can do. Maybe the world’s just leaving us all behind.
Or are things cyclical and we’ll have (probably crappy) bands back in 2020? or will there be more of a melding of the live and the “producer” (and not just in a “live band plays studio productions”) in future.
It’s not 10% my cup of tea but better than 50% of this list, easily. I’ve enjoyed it enough to listen to 5 times. on the other hand some bits are “errrggg”. Mind you i never like the XX.
Will I listen to it again: probably not, but, you know, not it’s fault, i’m just a lazy guy.
Had I ever heard of them before: yes, but ummm had no idea what she sounded like.
Reductive First Impression: I like this. It’s really good. Not sure about some of the production (loud synthetic drums, kinda cheesy guitar n stuff) but I may grow to like it.
I dunno, the melodies are good. This is good.
Will I listen to it again: yep
Had I ever heard of them before: no.
Reductive First Impression: I listened to this a few times. It’s ok. I don’t hate it. The hooks it has don’t make me go “yeaaaaaaaaah” but I also don’t hate them. I’m guessing this is a lyrics album – in fact more than that a “narrative” album and therefore needs way closer a listen than I’m willing to give it.
His bitch looks like Madonna.
Will I listen to it again: nope. Although as I type this I am still listening to it and becoming a tiny bit more intrigued. but na…