Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing



Will Adams: It’s been a fantastic year for songs that precisely mirror every experience I’ve had as a shy romantic. First, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs puncture a hole in my heart, and now Sky Ferreira shatters my world. If that sounds hyperbolic, it’s only appropriate. “You’re telling me that, basically, you’re not looking out for me,” is a thought I’ve looped in my head as I walked back home, the synth pads suggest the overcast skies that would hang over me on those midnight walks, the prom dance piano recalls the flickers of adoration that would prompt me to make an earnest advance, and the chorus’s repetition pummels its message the same way I would pummel those feelings, a self-inflicted hurt that is at once hopeful and fed up. I’m devastated, blown away, and speechless.

Katherine St Asaph: One of my favorite novelty songs is “Alto’s Lament.” It’s got one joke, but it’s killer: threading together all the big triumphant Broadway hits, but only their harmony parts, sung by a very reluctant alto. Everything is so hilariously wrong: a ghastly “Memory”; the un-pretty adlibs from “I Feel Pretty” and a rendition of “Oklahoma,” one of the most optimistic songs in musical theater history, as a bitter and not remotely tuneful “sky-y-y-y-y-y-y-y. yo-ho.” Sky(-y-y-y-y) Ferreira does the exact same thing, but for pathos, not laughs. “Maybe if you let me be your lover, maybe we could try — but I would not bother,” she sings, melody slumped and hope squashed, exactly where the bubbly dance-pop chorus should go. Don’t call her maybe; her track has outlived that hope. The beats are lonely, the piano lonelier, the warmth dissipating into an empty room. This is what real humans are like, Terry.

Patrick St. Michel: The backing music initially sounds so out of place, a John-Hughes-worthy dance beat soundtracking Sky Ferreira’s downtrodden lyrics.  That music, though, reveals itself over time as an excellent partner for her vocals — this is a song about confusion and uncertainty, Ferreira wrestling with the state of a relationship and the only conclusion she draws being that “everything is embarrassing” about the situation. The music, appropriately, offers no climaxes or resolutions, just a persistent shuffle. For these lyrics, it’s a great move.

Ramzi Awn: Ferreira’s voice breathes like the wind in an empty house, windows wide open.  “Everything is Embarrassing” does nothing if not surprise you, the beat cutting its nostalgic reverb like a Brit-pop track that sounds better than it should. The song sounds like nothing else, and it’s all the better for it.      

Anthony Easton: For someone who has been on the edge of breaking through for so long, with a large number of producers and writers, in addition to the kind of multi-platform modelling and acting gigs that seem necessary to fame in our post-format times, it’s strange how anonymous Sky Ferreria not only sounds but looks — its not even blankness as an aesthetic choice, or studio interference.

Brad Shoup: Granted, everything is embarrassing. But the solution isn’t to be tasteful!

Jonathan Bogart: After a year of fainting decorously over Jessie Ware’s 80s adult-contemporary revivalism, I’d be a hypocrite not to love this. Very well then I agree with myself. (I am small; I contain partialities.)

Alfred Soto: Nothing Ferreira’s recorded has transcended the interesting or the nice try, including this minor key clippety clopper swathed in echo.

Edward Okulicz: It’s more interesting than it is good, but it’s really interesting. Some of the musical elements here that could have been uplifting (the beat which makes me think of something that might be “Let’s Hear it for The Boy”, the piano, the bass creeping up through gaps in the track) are deployed in ways that are bizarrely, compellingly sad. Lonely and longing, but you can tune that out if you want. You shouldn’t, as you’d miss a poignant, pensive vocal from Ferreira.

Jonathan Bradley: The drums say “dancefloor,” but the teary synths say “night in,” and I suppose the space between is “Everything is Embarrassing.” Few tunes could be as great as that title and this isn’t, but it gives it a fair shot. “Maybe if we tried, but I would not bother” is the motif, but more devastating is the title-preceding “Could have been my anything…” How cruel that such optimism should end with assured humiliation.

2 Responses to “Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing”

  1. Thank you Brad, for making me feel less lonely.

  2. I needed this, you guys. Thanks.