This is not how music criticism works.

No one ever asks. That’s OK.

That is not how music criticism works anyway. Originally, I titled this entry What’s On My iPod 31.01.18. Too undemanding, too anonymous. No one cares, not ever. (You want people to click on links to music? You need to term those posts 30 Greatest Accidental Katy Perry Booty Calls or the Worst U2 Song Of All Time. Don’t believe me? Go ahead. Try.) You need to push yourself forward, move to the front. Ignore the stares around you. Writing is a performance, even (especially) when there are only a handful of disinterested onlookers. If you’re good enough, they will tell others. Maybe. Spread the word. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they’re the wrong sort of people.

My life is one of denial. I catch myself walking with my head down, constantly. I try to block out reality even as it comes crashing in around me, faster and faster. Perhaps if I dream enough then I might become True once more. I have no idea who I am these days. My identity as defined by others, my identity as defined by myself… I do not know what this means in 2018. The songs I listen to are likewise changing, albeit in ever decreasing circles. (You will notice I am not being direct here. That is because if I do not know who I am how can I explain how I feel?) It is 2018, and I need some…

I need some Sarah Blasko. I know that music is performance and that one should never assume a connection between artifact and artist but sometimes it is difficult not to. How can Blasko sing this break-up so plaintively, so poignantly, if she hasn’t been living its every note? This song, this song seems to be my life. Right now, this song is my life. I played it five times over on the train to St Pancreas the other day, and five times on the way back. The rest of the album moves me in a way I wish that Kate Bush still did. (Do not misread that. I simply mean to imply I am not comfortable.) Brutal and blue and beautiful, her voice is the sound of the dreams I wish I could have. Instead, I dream of black-outs on the top decks of buses going back and forth to nowhere, some abstract American city that in all probability does not exist.

 

There is The Regrettes. A few short weeks ago I had my suspicions (I thought that perhaps the manufactured outweighed the spirited). What a fucking fool. What a killer album. Her voice (I still do not know her name) fuels my dreams, oh how I wish it fueled my dreams. (I do not mean in a sexual way. Jesus!) Cajoling, pleading, brutal, beautiful, blue, excitable, bouncy, buoyant, raspy, drawling, sassy, shot through with excitement and knowledge and desperation and pleasure, rolling around on the hillocks of hope, playful, smiley, sussed, smashing… please do not stop me. This is POP MUSIC as I always understood it could be played, only each time I hear it anew, hear it anew, it seems to sound better and better, greater and greater, so much much much more than the sum of its parts. Every song on this album I have listened to two dozen times in the past 24 hours and yes every song does serve to block out The Void, welcome in glimpses of sunshine.

Everything about them, especially the bits where you go “wow, that sounds like…” and then you realise it does not. It sounds like The Regrettes. Greatest band in the world, no denying. No fucking around.

 

 

 

I desperately want to listen to The Fall but every time I desperately want to listen to The Fall, The Regrettes get in the way. As great as (greater than) Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their greatest.

I have rediscovered Dream Wife. Frankly, I am astounded that I could forgotten them,  even for three nano-seconds. I did not forget, just lost track of my dreaming. If I still went to shows they would all jump up and down in gleeful abandon like this. Yeah, fuck you. Once again, that thing I mentioned above about hearing pop music anew and each time it is BIGGER, it is BOUNCIER, it is MIGHTIER than before. Rock’n’roll is still my drug, however rarely I bloodstream it these days, rock’n’roll is where I hide.

 

 

Maybe the punk rock librarians can save me yet.

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