March 31st, 2009

"Happy Anniversary", I mutter to the cluttered floor of my bedroom.

I could stay in my room, I could learn to live on air and water. I could spend all day among the trees, pretend to grow roots. I could be writing our break up poem. Today could be any other day. It is, to everyone else, including you.

The thing is, today is becoming every other day for me too. I expected something else — maybe to feel bitter again, like I used to. I touch the scar on my knee, I sit in the seat we shared on the bus. I thumb through our memories, trying to find one that will incite some kind of emotional response. Nothing.

It's not like you're a phantom. It's not like you don't exist. It's just that I don't care anymore. A year ago today, I realized you were a stranger to me, and walked away. I looked back today, and realized I never have to look back again.


It Only Takes One Night (Don't Forget Me)

Berlinette by Ellen Allien

When it comes to pop music, I instinctively mentally flinch. It's not that I look down on pop music, or that I don't enjoy it. But there are just pop acts out there today that make me flinch. I like to reason that these artists are talented in their own right, that the reason people love them is because they're good at making music that is kind of like snack food. You can't live off it, of course, but it's there, it lasts for while, and you feel good in that moment that you have it. And when that moment is over, maybe you feel a little guilty that you listened to something you can clearly see is not good for you now, but it is what it is.

So when I started Berlinette, I was braced for anything, whether it was slightly better snack-food-music (like Anniemal, unfortunately. It's good, just not something I'd want to live off of), or just something I'd have to push through and regret later on. So I was surprised when it was clear from the opener "Alles Sehen" that it was neither, but one of those rare pop albums that you might actually want to listen to again.

The most noticeable thing about this album is its focus on sounds; you won't find crappy lyrics about heartbreak or someone cheating on someone else. Generally speaking, the lyrics are very simple — "Trashscapes Voc" features the lyric "The past is a light train to unknown trashscapes", while "Wish" mainly repeats the lines "Need a planet without cars and wars/No wars, no cars/I wish it could be true". Even "Sehnsucht" uses the single word "Ah" beautifully. Berlinette features beautifully dense beats, off-kilter yet dance-able, with electronic skitterings and blips. It treats even its vocals as one more texture to the soundscape, though they don't sacrifice meaning in order to accomplish this.

What Ellen Allien manages to accomplish in Berlinette is not new, or groundbreaking. It's just good, which is enough to set it apart from the rest.


Insound, Pay Me!!!

Thought For Food by The Books

I first started listening to the Books because of this project; in a restful gamble out among the weeds and brush, the rolling waves of laughter, voice samples and guitar plucking somehow worked together in unexpected ways to create an incredibly rewarding album.

Having listened to the Books before, the element of surprise is out. Still, Thought For Food and The Lemon of Pink almost feel of the same vein. The same elements that made The Lemon of Pink so amazing were first present on Thought For Food, the band's debut, and listening to these albums back to back, you would be very hard pressed to describe a very noticeable difference between the two ("Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again" and "Read, Eat, Sleep" remind me particularly of The Lemon of Pink, though I'm not sure why). 

Being familiar with what The Books can do with just some electronic mixes, voice samples and sporadic percussion and guitars does not lessen any of the surprise with the music itself. One such surprise would be the off-kilter humor present on the track, "Motherless Bastard", in which a man denies being a young boy's father to the point of making the child cry, or the track "Contempt", in which two men interchange dialogue originally intended between a man and a wife ("What about my ankles, do you like them? ... My thighs, do you think they're pretty?").

For the same reasons The Lemon of Pink is one of my favorite albums, so too is Thought For Food. There are few musicians who can take voice sampling and make it new all over again, and the fact that they do this successfully on two albums is reason enough to love The Books.


If I didn't review Microcastle right away, Clemente said he would kill my parents

Microcastle by Deerhunter

Usually with albums I actually love, it's difficult for me to talk about them coherently. My words break down into fragmented sentences, the frequency of usage for the word "like" usually increases tenfold. In the end, I sum up my retarded hand gestures, grammatically incorrect sentences and half-conceived thoughts with a shy, crooked smile and a murmured "It's just good".

So I have hesitated to write about certain albums. I might have reviewed an easier album today, like Thought For Food by the Books, or You Are Free by Cat Power, something I felt less attached to and consequently could be more coherent. And contrary to what the title of this post will have you believe, I am reviewing Microcastle today because it seemed like a good idea.

I don't honestly remember if I ever tried to like Deerhunter before 2009; there are scores of band names that ring familiar but I have never touched, whether through conscious choice or just forgetfulness. I took the circuitous route to listen to Deerhunter; easing in with Logos and Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP, I finally worked into the Deerhunter discography.

Microcastle is a much more accessible album than its predecessors, in the sense that it's cleaner and more refined. This is a product of conscious effort, however — Cox himself states "I'm more interested in the micro structures. I want things to be a lot shorter...less droney, less mopey. There will probably be a little less ambience". And true to form, these songs are fairly short, with a good number of them about 3 minutes or less.

Personally, I feel incapable of detailing the merits of the album without gushing and going into incomprehensible half-sentences. It's hard to get better than "Agoraphobia", "Nothing Ever Happened", "Never Stops" or have a better closer than "Twilight At Carbon Lake". So here I will end with this: It's just good.


And I Can't Lift You Up Cause My Mind Is Tired

Photo by Megan Caros

I sit here, trying to think of the right word that will call you out of the darkness. There's one of you in your bedroom at night, imagining you are slicing the pain out of your wrists. There's one of you walking the sidewalks that won't lead you home, mentally fingering the edges of the hole in your chest. There's one of you racing along the road, tasting the delectable mental imagery of your fiery release by racing your car off a cliff.

When this entire army of words fail to force you back from that edge. I try to whisper, "There's a miracle in your molecules", but it comes out in a strangled, suffering "Please". I try to usher in the truth of the universe into your ear, the truth that I love you, the truth that the universe wouldn't make sense without you, but instead I fill that space with a shouted, angry "Stop it!" It seems that everything I could say to you, I will say it wrong.

I want nothing more than to bandage your arms, to take off those shoes from your weary feet, to drive you safely home. I'm sitting here, trying to think of the right word that will call you out of the darkness.

I'll use the only three that make sense to me: I love you.


I'm Coming To Take You Home

Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes

Listening to Fleet Foxes half-heartedly from the car radio in in 2008, I didn't find any reason to like it. In the company of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, Fleet Foxes did not strike me as new or interesting. But much like its cover art, the album requires closer attention. (Seriously, just look at the cover art closely. There are some crazy things happening).

I never quite understood the appeal of Fleet Foxes until 2009, sitting in an abandoned floor of the Suzzalo library at the University of Washington, watching Robin Pecknold and friends play "Blue Ridge Mountains" in an abandoned wing of the Grand Palais in France, simultaneously making me fall in love with Fleet Foxes and with La Blogotheque. From there, I took Fleet Foxes everywhere; I was listening to "Mykonos" on the bus crossing Lake Washington, singing along with "White Winter Hymnal" as I walked home from school, falling asleep to "Ragged Wood" at night.

It's easy to dismiss the lyrics when you hear them sing about hummingbirds and red squirrels. Oftentimes, harmonies and vocals take precedence over any type of "meaning" — "Quiet Houses" feature only three different lines, repeated throughout the song, while "Heard Them Stirring" features no lyrics at all, just harmonies. But this is a dangerous generalization; there's a reason the album is able to illicit such vivid imagery.

When given enough attention, Fleet Foxes is an incredibly rewarding album. 


My Horn Can Pierce The Sky

The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky

The first time I heard Explosions in the Sky I was in my senior year of high school, probably skipping class, probably trying to balance the idea of ending the only life I was familiar with and starting the life I would have after I graduated.

For my senior year, nothing went as planned. I did not expect that moment of hopelessness before college application deadlines were due, wondering if this was what I really wanted. I did not expect the shame and isolation I felt, trying to convince myself that I could get into the university I wanted to be in. I did not know I would be sequestered from my peers, I did not know I would not want to go to my own graduation ceremony (nor did I know that I would go anyway).

But for all the crushing moments I didn't expect, there were the brilliant moments I would never have hoped to dream for. Getting into the university I had dreamed of attending since I was in middle school, the first kiss stolen in a corridor of the school, connecting with some of the most amazing people who still persist to be my best friend, even when I'm not very friendly, even when they are scattered around the world. Even just the moments under the line of trees, grabbing armfuls of red and orange leaves and taunting the other students stuck in the classroom with our playground antics.

The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place is Explosions in the Sky's attempt at love songs. With the same ominous, building melodies and emotionally cathartic climaxes, the album differs greatly from previous efforts in the overall sense of warmth. The album opens with a heartbeat and a single guitar mimicking a heart monitor on the track "First Breath After Coma". Though the track looks like a staggering 9 and a half minutes, the long build-up is never drawn out or boring; instead, melodies intertwine beautifully, rising and falling and feeding into climaxes. With only five tracks spanning 45 minutes, the length of many of the tracks seem at the very least daunting, but only "Memorial" manages to make its length felt, but even those 9 minutes are not wasted, as it makes "Your Hand in Mine" that much more memorable. The brevity of the album is actually one of its strong points; instead of letting the build-up/climax formula become repetitive, the album flows seamlessly from one track to the next, so that the songs rise and fall like breaths rather than follow formulas.

Though there is not a single lyric in the entire album, it's hard to ignore the sense of hope and love present in the album. Even post-rock bands need to have their love songs, and "The Only Moment We Were Alone", "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean" and "Your Hand in Mine" succeed at this wonderfully.


I Left My Lady At the Laund-er-ette!

The Life Pursuit by Belle and Sebastian

I've never been a Belle and Sebastian fan. Maybe I've been listening to the wrong albums, maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. For whatever reason, I vehemently hated Belle and Sebastian and kept off of all their music. So I was surprised to listen to it last night at 4 in the morning and find myself not only enjoying it but not really getting enough of it in the first four listens. 

Lacking the weight of six previous albums (and all the joys and disappointments that come along with long term relationships with bands), The Life Pursuit is the first real brush with Belle and Sebastian I've ever had.

The album is a lyric-lover's dream. The album opens with "Act of the Apostles Part I", sung from the perspective of a girl whose mother is ill, struggling to "make sense of it all" (while nine tracks later "Act of the Apostle Part II" continues the story, where the girl finds God in a transistor radio). Most songs on the album seem to narrate a story; "White Collar Boy" describes a white collar boy who stole and was caught. Forced to do community service, the boy meets a beautiful blue collar girl who tries to convince him to escape with her. In "Dress Up In You", again the song is sung from a girl's point of view, in which she addresses a past rival-turned star. "Sukie in the Graveyard" is a song of a rebellious girl who escapes to art school and poses nude. "Funny Little Frog"  features a man who is happily in love with a girl on a magazine, with clever lines like "I had a conversation with you at night/It was a little one-sided but that's alright".

Generally speaking, the album explores struggles with living and struggles with faith, though it never sinks into lugubrious or labored narratives. It's never quite certain if Sukie is thriving in the art school as a nude model, or if the girl in Act of the Apostles becoming the village joke in "For the Price of a Cup of Tea" is a good thing. Belle and Sebastian say it best with "The Blues Are Still Blues": though the way we interpret things can change, the things that make us sad, or make us struggle, always stays the same. The black will be white and the white will be black, but the blues are still blue.


It's The Opposite of Hallelujah

I cock my head to the side and put my ear to the glass, listening to the ice cubes quietly crinkle secrets in my ear. They tell me about oceans and being scraped by mountain peaks, dinosaur kidney stones and the inside of my freezer. I tell them I'm sad as they start to melt.

Last night I tried to find my happiness in the boxes I thought I had packed my childhood in, yet all I held in my hand were papers. I tried to understand the darkness that bloomed like bruises behind my eyelids and found myself pressing my hands against the bricks of our fireplace, trying to feel something solid.

I watch in amazement how this sadness passes right through you. I find my hands beating against my chest like caged robins, trying to beat out the hole that will allow my sorrow to pass right through me.

Tomorrow you will drag me out in the sun, you will set my feet in motion. You will turn the corners of my lips up. And I will turn my head every time they fall back down.


Come Along With Me

Anniemal by Annie

The first time I listened to Anniemal, I was slightly bored; the album felt like a very straightforward pop album, and Annie's voice was too quiet to hold my attention. But neither of these things are necessarily bad things.

Annie began recording for Anniemal a half year after her boyfriend, Tore Kroknes, died in 2001 of a heart defect. On many of the tracks in the album, Annie's vocals can be described as melancholy, even if the lyrics themselves are not meant to be sad. Annie herself admitted that many of the tracks might feel melancholic, but making sad music was never her purpose; instead, she aimed to make bittersweet songs.

Most of the tracks on the album deal with love, whether it is falling in or out of it. The album opens with "Chewing Gum", a metaphor for being single and happy ("I'm just a girl that's only chewing for fun!/Spit it out when all the flavor has gone/Wrap it 'round your finger like you're playing with gum"). "Heartbeat" narrates the story of a party and feeling the thrill of meeting someone new ("Feel my heartbeat drumming to the beat/Like a woman in love") while "Helpless Fool For Love" describes the helplessness of falling in love with someone. On the other side of the spectrum, "Always Too Late" describes the frustration of waiting around for someone, eventually degenerating into feeling like a fool for "waiting for somebody who don't care". "Happy Without You" begins with the reasons why she chose to leave, admitting later in the song how hard it was, but coming to terms with it and eventually being happy without him.

Though Anniemal does not make an effort to push musical ground or spearhead a movement, it draws its merits from its ability to make happy songs despite its melancholy. If an album can aptly describe both the fallings in and out of love, that by itself makes it worthwhile.


I Think Ur A Contra, I Think That You Lieee

"I had a feeling once/That you and I/Could tell each other everything/For two months/But even with an oath/With truth on our side/When you turn away from me/It's not right" — "I Think Ur A Contra" by Vampire Weekend, Contra (2010)

I'm sitting here tracing my veins, trying to find the blood clot that is constricting my happiness. I try to count all the platelets that are building up — deep smile lines, scents, the inside of your car, every cross word we've ever slung, every word you're not speaking to me now.

I like it better here inside my head. I like my pretty thoughts, I like my humor. Sometimes I even manage to like myself, just a little bit.

So why can't I just be happy alone? I lay my head down at night, looking at this modern tin can telephone, knowing its copper string leads no where. There is no one to talk to in the middle of the night, no one I can whisper my dark secrets to. No one who cares what's it's like inside my head.

Everyday I walk these streets and feel like every door is closed on me. I start to wonder if I'm already homeless. I start to fear I'm the phantom, that he was real and I'm left behind, this ghost staining his city. So I scream, I cry, I laugh, I sing as I walk home, to prove to everyone that I'm the real one.

I try to use these 250 albums like sandbags to hold back the flood of grief in my life. I try to pull out lines from their songs like little love letters I no longer receive. I try to stitch them all together, to make an armor to keep out the loneliness, the emptiness. But all I have are sloppy lines scattered like leaves at my feet, statused like the insane writing on walls, them all meaningless to everyone but me.

Things would be easier if I could just be upset with you. If I could just be honest, and ask you why you don't talk to me like you used to. But I'm already defeated. When you turn away from me, it's not right. It's not right.


Happy 800

This marks my 800th post.

So in the last 100-ish days, I have reviewed a total of 38 albums from my list. Which feels like very little, when compared to the remaining 212 albums. It has only been three months and I'm already apprehensive of my project ending. I have tried doing 365 projects in the past, but I have rarely taken those seriously. The difference between this and the past attempts is the fact that it feels worthwhile to me. I end the day feeling like I've accomplished something.

I hope that in the last 100 posts my writing has developed, if by a little bit, and that my understanding of music has improved with this practice, and that continues for the next 100.


Come On, Feel

Illinois by Sufjan Stevens

Don't ask me to explain the cult-like fanaticism Sufjan's fans all seem to exhibit. Don't ask me why people credit Sufjan as an amazing musician when many, many other musicians can do exactly what he does, sometimes better. If I were a much more pessimistic person than I am at this very moment, I would suggest that the majority of people love Stevens' work because of his supposed "50 States Project" (which was revealed to only be a promotional gimmick).

I am not a Stevens fanatic, but I don't hate him either. In 2007 I had to grudgingly admit that Illinois was enjoyable after finally deciding to sit down and listen to his albums. Possibly the most off-putting thing about Sufjan Stevens isn't even his sometimes annoyingly soft voice (it lacks expression) or the incredibly long song names — the most off-putting thing about Sufjan Stevens is the fans he gets. God, are they annoying.

But that's not necessarily related to the quality of his music, is it?

For people who love to dissect albums, Illinois is rich with references, large words and historical tidbits about, believe it or not, Illinois. But let's be honest here, at 74 minutes, this album is kind of drag (this coming from someone who sat down and read lyrics along with Have One On Me). Of course, you have to commend the orchestration, the meticulous detail and patience that Illinois employs. The harmonies, strings and horns are all surprisingly heartwarming (it's hard to remain cold to a line like "We were in love, we were in love/Palisades, palisades/I can wait, I can wait").

The best moments on the album, at least for me, are the livelier moments. But I use the word "lively" in a very loose sense; the liveliest Stevens manages would likely be "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhhh!!", but even this track fluctuates between the driving "I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S" chant and Sufjan's soft voice. Other high points for the album would be "Decatur, or Round of Applause For Your Step Mother!", "Casimir Pulaski Day", "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out To Get Us!", and "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland IL".

Illinois is an exercise in patience, both for the artist and the listener. Heavy with historical references that could be fun to explore if you didn't already have a life, Sufjan manages to make an amazing tribute to Illinois, calling attention to small things that most people would likely overlook. You don't need to be from Illinois to enjoy an album that seems to explore the lives of everyday people.

(P.S. I do not hate Illinois, it's actually my favorite album by Stevens. But god, do I hate his fans. Especially you, Alec Duffy, with your listening parties! And anyone who actually goes to those damn things.)


I Need Some Video Games

It's been a very long time since I just wrote crap, just put down my crappy thoughts here. Not the less-crappy thoughts that I dress up in sloppy metaphors, but the real verbal crap, like what I'm spewing out right now.

I simply cannot attempt another album review, because I feel that my last three have been pretty sub par. My mind feels like mush, I've been bruising my brain, beating it against these impenetrable albums that I want to say something brilliant about.

Why am I just blathering like this? Because I worry that the blog is getting further away from me. Further away from the reality of me. 90% of everything I say on any given day is verbal garbage. In most conversations I have (online, of course, because I rarely have real human interaction) I am either laughing or screaming "aaahhhhhhh". And in reality, that is pretty much the same inside of my brain.

On nights like this, when I'm bored to death, I kind of wish I had some video games.

Okay. In order to validate this being published, at all, here is a little playlist of the songs I've been enjoying.

Animal Collective - "Daily Routine (Phaseone Remix)"
Casiokids - "En Vill Hest"
Cults - "Go Outside"
Cults - "Most Wanted"
The Russian Futurists - "Precious Metals"
Vampire Weekend - "Giving Up The Gun"

And for laughs: RAAAAAAAANDY and Dave Sitek - "Baby Baby (ft. DJ Ol' Youngin')"
Watch the video for this on Pitchfork.

So here ends the reminder that I am just a crappy little person eating my crappy little peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, bored out of my mind.


And I Don't Know A Soul Who's Not Been Battered

She rides the bus nearly every day, her dove-white hair gathered loosely underneath her winter's hat. She carries her belongings in suitcases, as if on a long ride from the airport to her final home.

But we all know there is no place she can put her suitcases down. There'll be no unpacking, there will be no homecoming. She will never put down her burden.

I look at the detail of her cheekbones, the clarity in her eyes. Did anyone ever tell her she was beautiful? Did they ever whisper "I love you" into the warm curve of her neck? Where is the young girl who laughingly vowed to be best friends forever, the father who told her, "One day I'll have to beat them away with a stick, my beautiful little girl".

I close my eyes to shut her out like everyone else.

Inside, I want nothing more than to reach across the aisle, to hold her hand. I want to unpack her suitcases, I want to let her shed her heavy coat. I want for her to never lower her eyes in shame again.

Because in the end, I don't want to be homeless. I want to open the door to your heart, and make it my home. I never want to pack my suitcases.


Nothing From Nothing

Album by Girls

As far as band start-up stories go, there are few that can compete with Girls. If there is ever a need for an encouraging background story of a successful artist, you can owe Christopher Owens one.

But even without the amazing backstory, Album stands as one of the exceptional albums of 2009, as well as the past decade. The album manages to reference an almost dizzying number of musical styles, but instead of focusing on imitating or even paying homage to its antecedents (they've been compared to Beach Boys, Morrissey, Elvis Costello, and Roy Orbison, just to name a few), Girls achieves an almost golden-oldies type of classicism just by their honest approach to their songs.

In lieu of Owens' past, it's easy to listen to "Hellhole Ratrace" or "Darling" and try to imagine which part of which song was shaped by his past. But it's also quite amazing to listen to lines like "I work to eat and drink and sleep just to live/Feels like I'm never getting back what I give/I've got a sad song in my sweet heart/And all I really ever need is some love and attention" followed by the sincere, if simple, advice "Sometimes you've just gotta make it for yourself".

But the most winning point of Album is its straightfoward honesty. Owens finds it easy to call "Laura" a bitch and himself an ass and still ask to be friends forever. In fact, "Darling" puts the album into perspective, singing "I was feeling so sad and alone/But I found a friend in the song that I'm singing". You don't need to be a part of the Children of God cult to understand Owens' desire to "rock like no one ever told [him] to stop" in "Big Bad Mean Motherfucker".

In Christopher Owens' own words: “These guys are weird and they’re doing something genuine and they can actually play and it’s nice to listen to and, hell, they even have an interesting backstory — check it out.”

(Not to mention, "Morning Light" may be one of the best songs from 2009.)


I'll Be The One Who'll Break My Heart

The Reminder by Feist

Everyone I know listens to Feist. In 2007, you might have seen The Reminder being sold in your local Starbucks, playing on a television commercial, or laying in your friend's car. The music on the album, however, seems to be completely ignorant of its commercial success; instead its surprisingly stripped down organic feeling creates an intimate atmosphere for the listener.

Where Let It Die featured songs both written by Feist and cover songs, every song but one on The Reminder was at the very least co-written by Feist. Though it's true that there were many people involved with the album (most notably, Gonzalez, Jamie Lidell, and Mocky, among others), their presence in the album is largely a huge success. There is never a moment on the album where collaboration sacrifices intimacy; much of the album is recorded in a fashion that emphasizes simple melodies and beautiful arrangements, with the desire to promote fellow musicianship rather than creating a glossy, slick pop album.

It may also be a surprise to realize that many of these songs were written and performed for a long time before ever set down in The Reminder, precisely because the album is so cohesive that it almost seems as if each song was imagined in the exact order they occur on the album. Perhaps what truly makes the album so perfectly intimate is the fact that many of these songs had been given such a long time to grow. Where many old songs are simply scrapped (Jens Lekman) or forcefully pieced together into an album (Beyonce), Feist exhibits a rare patience with her own songs, allowing each to flow organically into the other. 

Though it's clear that there was never an intention to create a commercially successful album, The Reminder's success sprouts from its amazing accessibility. The album opens with "So Sorry", a penitent wish to stop fighting ("We're so helpless/We're slaves to our own forces/We're afraid of our emotions"). "The Park" is a song of a long-distance relationship, with Feist baring her insecurities in the lines "Who could be sure of anything through/The distance that keeps you from knowing the truth". Despite such joyful melodies as "1234" and "I Feel It All", these songs mask different facets of relationship frustration; Feist declares "I'll be the one who'll break my heart" because "the truth lied/and lies divide" in "I Feel It All", while in "1234" she sings "Sweetheart, bitter heart/Now I can't tell you apart", trying to keep up with someone who keeps changing their heart.

Everyone I know listens to Feist, and for good reason.


Now That It's Over This Weight Is Off My Shoulder

You're A Woman, I'm A Machine by Death From Above 1979

I first listened to Death From Above 1979 in 2006; though I've always enjoyed You're A Woman, I'm A Machine, I never quite understood what drew me to the album. At first I chalked it up to that period of my life: I was listening to Blood Brothers, Fall of Troy, and this made sense. As the years went by (and the two successive computer crashes that wiped out my music library), both Blood Brothers and Fall of Troy disappeared, yet Death From Above 1979 did not.

It wasn't until I was listening to it last night, at a volume probably not good for anyone (I can almost promise that I will be deaf by the end of this year), that I realized the album's magnetism. For one thing, songs like "Black History Month" or "Sexy Results" are obviously dance-y numbers, with slick hooks and a surprising gloss to its noise. But the best thing about the album by far is its pure emotional purge, a cathartic release of post-break-up frustration: these songs are thinly veiled and amazingly raw.

Though it may be slightly hard to hear under the dance floor noise that the album presents, in many ways it almost feels like each song follows a theme of love and violence. There are few things that bring couples together; two of the majors ones are sex and fighting, both which are explored in the album. "Romantic Rights" is descriptive of an attempt to make a relationship work when it simply can't, illustrated in lines like "You play with shapes but they just won't fit" and "Your romantic rights are all that you got". "Blood On Our Hands" is an obvious exploration in love and violence, finding "blood in all the things I say".

You're A Woman, I'm A Machine works on many different levels. As pop songs, dance numbers, noise rock, or break up songs, the album draws you in with violent, emotional catharsis. (And, it's amazingly fun to dance to.)

Everything Hits At Once


My memories are becoming memories of memories. I can't remember how it really was. It's as if we are playing a nightly theater behind my eyelids. We're always changing roles; you play the villain and I'm the victim. Now the scene replays, the roles are reversed.

I might be remembering things wrong. As I write this sentence, 50,000 cells in my body are dying. 50,000 new cells are being created, each one without your name coded in my genes like some kind of virus.

The point is, I'm not the same person when I met you. Literally. The very cells in my bones have died, been replaced, and have died again. My stomach lining was replaced in four days, so that the acid in your words couldn't eat through me. It took five months to change my skin (harder this time, of course — it is, afterall, my first line of defense). My liver, with its 500 functions — one of them trying to filter out the toxic blame you let flood my bloodstream — regenerated in six months.

The miracle of this life is the centuries of evolution that took place to make the idea of you even possible. That the entire history of human life is just an elaborate dominoes of events that led to you. If history could be redone, if I could push the tears up my cheeks and back into my eyes, so that planes will fly out of buildings and the atomic bombs will fly up into the planes, if history could un-goose-step across Europe, if the machetes attached hands to limbs by a simple upward motion, there could never be a more perfect you.

Evolution isn't a survival of the fittest, it's an experimentation of beauty. In the filter of you, historical events align like stars, and human life is worth all the work it takes to live it.

Everything hits at once. I'm letting you go, one cell at a time, so that the you that will align all of my maladies, all of my tragedies, can enter my life.