Saturday, 22 July 2017

Popular Music - March 2017

Terribly sorry, I've been away...

Tori Amos -Under the Pink
James Blake - Overgrown
Mariah Carey - Emotions
Paul Dempsey - Everything is True
FKA twigs - EP1
Wendy Matthews - Emigre
Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
Damien Rice - 9

...though that doesn't explain all of the delay, it does explain a chunk of it.

So another month, another smallish dose of pop music (and almost all of it was listened to in a period of just 3 days in the middle of the month). The most notable thing here is that I made a conscious effort to listen to a couple of things that I hadn't heard in a long while: one album each of Mariah Carey and Damien Rice.

And in both cases my reaction was much the same. Yes, there are some okay things here, they're not terrible, but I also remember why I don't reach for this music on a regular basis.

The Damien Rice album is the more interesting case because I don't really know it very well. I didn't buy it, but not long after I received it as a present I made a conscious decision not to spend time getting to know it. All sorts of things about it felt like a continuation of his previous album, O, only lesser. And I didn't really like O a lot either, despite a number of friends raving about it.

My fundamental problem with Rice's music is a feeling that it's constantly striking the same rather dour and miserable emotional tone, in a way that seems to suggest the listener is supposed to be impressed by how emotional it all is. Maybe I'm being deeply unfair here, but that's the impression I got: less genuine outpouring a la early Tori Amos, more artificial moping because it generates the right response in a certain kind of audience.

This many months after the re-listen I don't actually remember that much about the particular songs and whether any of them made a better impression after a gap of many years. So I guess I'll have to re-listen again.

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