Saturday, December 9th, 2017

Readers’ Week 2017 – the rest

That’s it for this year’s Readers’ Week. We received many good suggestions this year and it was hard to narrow it down to just 15. Here are the rest of your nominations, with words where we received them. A YouTube playlist of all of the picks (that are available on YouTube) can be found here. Thanks for sending them in, and thank you as always for your readership.

Next week: Amnesty!

Block B – Shall We Dance

The Bombpops – Be Sweet
Andrew Waddell: “Be Sweet” is the universally accepted perfect song length (2:30), quirky and efficient enough that its structure is roughly verse(s) then chorus(es), and is the best pop-punk song of 2017 in an incredibly crowded year. Like “2nd Date” by the Unlovables two years ago, the contrast between energy and domesticity belies its genre and creates uniquely compelling music. Whatever “perfect pop” means in 2017, this glorious beacon of joy has claimed that title as its own.

Bouwer Bosch – Tiekiedraai

Cage the Elephant – Whole Wide World

Carl Brave x Franco 126 & Coez – Barceloneta

Charli XCX ft. CupcakKe – Lipgloss

Chelsea Wolfe – The Culling

Chelsea Wolfe – Spun

Dagny – Wearing Nothing

Hive Riot – With My Body!

Kenshi Yonezu – Peace Sign

Kitty – 2 Minutes
Sébastien Duclos: In many ways Kitty’s Miami Garden Club feels like an album nobody really deserved or even dared hope for -a Soundcloud digest-like crossover of Ryan Hemsworth, Unicorn Kid and Maltine singles with the most relatable lyrics this side of pre-global-stardom Lorde.

It’s an impressive record- strong enough to both fulfill fans’ expectations and shame the most disingenuine trolls into dejected silence- and the fact that it is being slept-on is super disheartening considering, you know, 2017.

“2 Minutes” is a hell of a bubbly earworm. It encapsulates the thrill of shedding doubts and expectations and surrendering to one’s instincts and finally feeling right about something. It’s a spellbinding pop song (I wish that bridge could last forever), a snapshot of the rewards held by survival and the acknowledgement of one’s self-worth.

Just like most of the album it feels disarmingly generous, cramming twists and turns into 3 minutes and 47 seconds where most would water everything down. It’s vulnerable and assertive, the product of an artist who both doesn’t seem to give a fuck -a lot of it feels like modest Xiu Xiu- and also to give way too much of a fuck not to make it fantastic.

Leo Kalyan – Feels Right

M.E.S.H. – Search. Reveal.

Millic ft. Fanxy Child – Paradise

Mount Kimbie ft. Micachu – Marilyn
Conor McCarthy: The best Mount Kimbie songs have beats that knock like lightly tapping on the bedroom door of a sleeping lover. Their newer work, more reliant on an indie-rock backbone than their IDM beginnings, tries for more open hearts and energy than they used to, but they still manage to capture intimacy and quietude regularly. Marilyn is the perfect marriage of their two eras. When Micachu sings “I’m looking up at you,” I hear him singing into open eyes, staring back, inches away. But as the drums become more insistent, a chorus of horns joins him, and his vocal takes on more confidence, the song feels less like a shared moment between two people and more like a joyous expression of love to the rest of the world.

Rina Sawayama – Alterlife

Sasha Sloan – Ready Yet
Wayne Zhang: Dead Taylor Swift reincarnated as Jessie Ware and the XX’s love child. She is definitely not ready for it; cue tears.

St. Vincent – Pills

Willow Smith – Wait a Minute!

Xiu Xiu – Get Up
Sébastien Duclos: Get Up is top-tier Xiu.

Usually in say, love songs or songs about someone good, a typical technique is to have the narrator compliment that person of interest and then cast him/herself in a bad light to reinforce the other’s greatness in contrast to his/her assumed lameness. Here, Stewart foregoes the first part entirely and the song is a ruthless exercise in self-deprecation aiming at showing how great of a friend the narrator’s friend is without once saying so.

BUT! Where it gets super clever and my head slowly starts spinning is that the reason why this friend is great is because he/she cuts through the narrator’s self-deprecating bullshit.

In other words, Stewart uses self-deprecation to cast his subject matter in a good light, even though cutting through self-deprecating BS is exactly what that friend is good at and the reason why JS wrote that song in the first place, which is extremely pathetic and also incredibly touching: he -allegedly- did it not to make us feel pity for him, but to thank his friend by both acknowledging his own lameness and giving him/her another reason for being a good friend (=the song, duh).

And yet (more spinning coming!) we do end up feeling kind of sorry for him, because that self-deprecating BS is sometimes actually very cleverly disguised and made fun of and thus paradoxically revealed to be justified. The succession of instruments falling on the narrator’s face, both small and huge, both 1. aims at portraying JS as an over dramatic pain in the ass and 2. intentionally fails at covering, because it points at, the actual real violence that led to the use of that cartoon violence in the first place.

To say it differently, a line such as “a piano fell on my face”, before undermining the actual real violent experience the narrator went through, (because cartoon violence isn’t real and JS is still alive after having presumably received a piano on his face), affirms the truth of this violent experience by acknowledging its existence and then comparing it to how it would feel if one was hit with a piano on one’s face.

The reason why it works so well is because these cartoon violence lines exist within the same space as 100% painfully lame lines such as “Sometimes a person cannot help what they do” -followed by the good friend’s reaction (”You get up and leave the room”)- and because the whole affair is incredibly self-deprecating, it is easy to dismiss the potential reality of the violence felt here.

If you don’t care about lyrics and stuff, the music itself is fantastic, tropicalia goth but not jaded like all those terrible ironic B52s cover bands pouting in leather jackets, actually good and forward thinking, light elevator-music seguing into a guitar/drums explosion with tons of melodies which shouldn’t work together but do as Stewart concludes with a decidedly (unapologetic?) over-dramatic “you are the only reason I was born / you are the only reason I was born.”

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4 Responses to “Readers’ Week 2017 – the rest”

  1. Kitty! M.E.S.H.!

  2. goshhhh I wish M.E.S.H. would’ve been reviewed, at least I wouldn’t have felt alone with my “hey let’s recommend weird electronic music” thingy lol

  3. I was the one who submitted MESH i’m glad y’all are feelin it! thanks for repping weird electronic shit too tomas!

  4. Damn, I had a few potential write-ups, but got swept up in Thanksgiving vacation and forgot to submit one. It would have been for Momoclo’s Blast, Morning Musume’s Jealousy Jealousy, or Tsubaki Factory’s Waratte.

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