As anyone who listened to the last episode of the podcast or who know me personally, I cannot stand mediocrity in art. The role of artists is to push humanity into greater awareness about itself, into challenging itself and the status quo, and in so doing trying to make the world a better place.
People make excuses for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adele and the whole lot of pop musicians by saying that it is merely “pop music”, but that’s just a cop out. During the 80s, Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson used pop to help transform culture and take it to a new place. The pop stars now are merely derivative at best ready to wallow in the acceptance of the masses.
Madonna made the masses come to her. Taylor Swift is merely happy enough to join the masses.
Being an artist is tough, and below are some musicians who did their best to move the masses and move my ass.
Arca – Mutant. I’ll admit that I only caught this album a few days ago in someone’s best-of-2015 list, and it was the cover art that captured my attention rather than whatever words were written down below it. I have a haunting suspicion that most of the 5 people who will come upon this particular list will do the same thing. Irregardless, I was transfixed and hypnotized to the sounds that came from this record. Sure it sounds EDM, but gone is the pervasive bro-ness about the music. It’s more as if the Future Sounds of London fucked EDM and this is what came out.
Björk – Vulnicura. It turns out that Arca aided Björk in producing this album. She mourns the disintegration of her relationship with Matthew Barney (to which I say good riddance, he’s a dickhead cunt anyhow), but doesn’t do it in any way we have heard before.
FKA twigs – M3LL133X. Grimes was too afraid of going this far, but Ms. Twigs just don’t give a shit. She took it this far, the fragility, the horror, the vulnerability, the anger and it’s exhilarating.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly. Holy shit. What D’Angelo did with last year’s Black Messiah, Kendrick Lamar took one step further. Listening to this takes me back to the Native Tongues and Neo Soul of Tribe Called Quest and Black Sheep and Common while keeping Compton in the forefront. Pure motherfucking genius here.
Peaches – Rub. Tits, tranny dicks and Kim Gordon. I love sexual perversion, and this is the perfect soundtrack to an orgy while getting dirty, pissed on, fisted while spewing cum like a firehose all over the place. Anything and everything goes here, and it’s so much fucking fun.
Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love. It’s good to be wary music bands make when they reunite. Take the Pixies for example. But here Sleater-Kinney came and rather than make a nostalgia-laced rehash of Dig Me Out, they made an album that would have fit had they never taken a hiatus in the first place. Hell, they made one of the few rock records of note this year.
I don’t know whether I should put Coil’s Backwards here since it was recorded back in the 1990s and a remixed version of these tracks were released back in 2008 as The New Backwards. I’ll just make a note of it here and leave it at that.