2016, far as years go, is fairly nascent. It doesn’t feel like this for what should be fairly obvious reasons. Amidst the clutter – it’s been quite a time for music and considering what artist labels, perception or whatever, mean and continue to in evolution. You know, because rock and roll ain’t dead, but if one still feels the rock star ideology is on special reserve for Whisky spitters wiping ash from salt and pepper beards playing encores of Rush – regard the fact of ignoring Paul McCartney and ideas on rap, hip hop – whatever, being “the music of now”.
Things are just the same as they’ve always been, accounting for relativity of technology, earthen atrophy and such, the real conversation – even if elusive, is no less powerful when gripping you by the throat. In this it’s fair to argue that things happen for a reason or, as I’ve always had it translated, by some universal feather tickle just beyond sober bounds of the Phenomenal world.
So here we sit, streaming services carving hackneyed bits of a roast only trying to sate the table, proffering a creepy if yet affordable take on big brother strings. The other side of that being, ostensibly, men like Kanye West debuting an album via fashion show at MSG on a weekday afternoon, while men like Frank Ocean adopt Russian winter levels of singularity, quiet – for about a half decade, in an over narrated landscape of consumption by third course mashed potatoes.
If memory indeed believes before knowing remembers, then complaints about these methods only etch some lack of humanity from the spigots of which they were spat. Mr. Ocean, of course a musician, may have missed another calling or three en route to his state of now, about the tumblr post – he wasn’t a thing but right. 4 years gone by, we’re still human beings spinning on blackness.
Maybe things aren’t the same as they’ve always been – but they probably are, because what the search bar has killed in the way of human intimacy, it has gifted just the same.
‘hotline bling’ is a really creative clever way of saying something really simple
— Lorde (@lorde) August 9, 2015
drake has a total pop songwriter approach to hook words/titles – stuff like ‘trophies’, or ‘pound cake’ or ‘hotline bling’
— Lorde (@lorde) August 9, 2015
These are old for today’s news cycle – and about Drake, who’s neither Kanye West nor Frank Ocean – but host an applicable relevance to the two. She’s right, obviously – and implied I feel is that Drake’s one of those artists, the mashed potato consumption – because everyone who laughs at a notion of Hotline Bling being good, impossibly good, has done similar or same iterations of smoking, fucking, driving, whatever – to this simple song their simple mind did not pen.
And, you know, maybe his didn’t either – but he’s cashing the checks, that’s good enough for today.
To TLOP and Blond(e) this Lorde logic applies tenfold in the sarcastic honesty her own songwriting shares with the men in question.
Track no.4 on TLOP is at once a revisit of a steady restaurant and a tone setter for larger themes of celebration buttressed with civil unrest commentary, socialite flexing on Nike, and personal debt between misconstrued arrogance. Rihanna crooning about love of the self and Kanye’s noting Taylor Swift, fame, a general obsession of carnal relations, play to the fiddle of Bam Bam near the halfway point. It’s joyous and, really, sans explications but nonetheless is real, all of it about ideas about ideas and what they’ll always be. Just being, implied, is a possibility – and that’s how “made that bitch famous”, “bleached her asshole, and “every bad bitch up in Equinox” serve the layup of loyalty, protection of children, love – so present on the albums back end. It’s artful, sure, but simple enough under the skin.
Conversely – Track no.4 on Blond(e) opens as a public service announcement from weed weighted teenage nightmares about mom finding the stash. “Many students have gone to college and gotten hooked on drugs” – titles typically are non important but “Be Yourself” here is interesting – because it’s assumed to be Franks mother. She doesn’t say as much until the last 20 seconds of the respite. Her voice falters a few times prior to this, and the commentary concludes after mention of cocaine and inebriated drivers with another, actually motherly sounding “this is mom, call me, bye”. It’s pretty awkward, a working influence on this city hopping commentary on the psychedelic passing of time and ambiguous sexuality. Track no.4 works because of Track no.5, a jacket-less acid dance and heaven amidst lonely hotels, the company of a memory who might exist in data plan only. If Kanye’s the manifestation of Stephen King for crusty middle America , Franks been meaning to ask Dostoyevsky about the mood of his steering wheel leather.
Movie theater viewings of tswift’s wax tits and a bisexual black dude building stairs to nowhere over Daft Punk samples are not mutually exclusive in this day. One only hopes the fella wielding the carving knife is heard, heard, not believed – at the first slop on your plate.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD