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Lamp, broken circa 1988

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Posts posted by Lamp, broken circa 1988


  1. I think I was supposed to put this up yesterday? Eh, it'll be fine.

    1. "When I Get Home" by Solange
    2. "Purple Mountains" by Purple Mountains
    3. "The Baneful Choir" by Teitanblood
    4. "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo
    5. "Deceiver" by DIIV"
    6. "Bible Songs 1" by The Austerity Program
    7. "Jade Bird" by Jade Bird

    My googles of Teitanblood have only caused me to learn one thing: I am not sure I know what “extreme metal” signifies. My hope is that it’s metal but more extreme. My fear is that it’s metal but for people who drink energy drinks and use “tite” in their texts. I’m pretty sure it’s the first one. This week I’ve been listening to pretty much exclusively banda and dark industrial, so I think I’m in a good enough mindset. Here we go!

    Pretty good atmosphere noises! Hard to know what to say about it until I know the scene it’s trying to set but just going off the album cover it’s working well enough for me. The arrival of the drums before the transition is perfect.

    I'm into this. I know we're on our way to doublebass town eventually but we could stay here at this rhythm for at least this song. Why rush? The cymbals are loud as hell, and the only clean thing on the record. Alright, I'm loving the slow building here, it speaks of an awareness of pacing and I appreciate that. The more chaotic that it gets the more that I like it. I dont remember if I said this last year or the year before, but one of the things that bums me out about metal is how much a lot of it relies on playing a single melody with some occasional counterpoint. I get it's a hallmark of the sound, but you can play around with it more than most bands seem to want to. The moments of chaos on this song are an example of that: it helps it stand out. these two songs back to back are a great introduction to a record.

    And then immediately chaos! Perfect! The production here does an excellent job of subverting tropes like beat drops by making them sound mutated. So do their tempo changes; by placing them at points where pop structure suggests a crescendo it pulls the song ahead in time. (Before anyone yells, I use Pop Structure to refer to western song structure post-recording industry. I know this is not a pop album, just like you know this isn't an orchestral score.) The production done to the drums really make the double bass less intrusive than it can be on a lot of metal records, while still letting it keep the pace up. This is really smartly produced AND well written so far.

    They're very good at using surprise in their timing. What I mean is when they're writing, they're putting their accents in unusual spots, maybe an eight of a beat off. That's what's making those two notes in the middle of the verses pull away from the rest of the song so distinctly. This is a fun record for me to listen to because there's like spots where I'm hearing all the theoretical grounding, and then other spots where I just kinda give up and go "oooh". I imagine they have a hell of a time getting this to sound right live, but on record it's a good time. Oh, uh, I figure this is as good a time as any to mention this, but I've got nothing to say about the lyrics so far, under my well established Rock Lyricism clause.

    I both appreciate the lack of time between songs and wish there's an actual break coming cuz I forgot to get some water before I sat down. I'm waiting to hear where this one's going (since it's six minutes) but at the moment this is the first song that's yet to really catch my ear with anything structurally. It's not a bad song, but it's lost the element of surprise. At the same time it's fair enough, they packed a bunch of really solid ones into the start and it's unfair to be like "NO SUBVERT A GENRE ON EVERY SONG GOSH."

    Now that I have retrieved water, let's start this one over again! I'm interested to hear ambient-into-ambient, or if the next song is just a one minute sprint. Either way, it's keeping up the ambiance of the record, which I figure is the main way to analyze ambiance's use on a record unless it's the point of the record.

    I appreciate that it's a rough continuation of the last ambient track. Clearly these two songs are the bookend between the sides on the vinyl and I appreciate the hell out of that.

    The slow intro of the title track is appropriate. It reminds me vaguely of Beyond the Black Rainbow's soundtrack, or at least how that soundtrack made me feel. When the guitars join and mimick the other melody it at least makes sense considering that this is the centerpiece of the record. See, I don't object to that approach Period, I just thing it can serve a thematic purpose and to use it all of the time is to remove that tool from your toolbox for the sake of tradition. Similar to how the beat drop is used at the outro! By making it a complete seperation from the song it has a much more dramatic impact than ending every song with a beat drop.

    And, when you make the centerpiece of the record a drone on a single phrase, the return to the blastbeats feels that much more distinct of a change of pace. That said, it's a good song but I feel like I've run out of things to say about this record at this point.

    While I'm in the same boat on this song, I do appreciate the return to the more classic style of metal songwriting near the end, because it feels like a bookend to the record, thus leaving the climax room to be something else.

    Ending Ambiance doesn't count as Ending Ballad. I'm sure if I connected more to the lyrics this would be a more impactful moment but I found that difficult. It still suits the mood of the record, however.
    = = =
    Overall, a good time! I don't think it's about to make a convert of anyone that doesn't enjoy metal, but there was enough ingenuity in the songwriting to keep me engaged throughout. The production was also well suited for the record, although I have to admit that there were a few times that the clean tones on the cymbals made me chuckle, like a set of miniature bells being flung around a hurricane. Good stuff.

    • Thanks 1

  2. Alright so I'm gonna try to bust out the rest of these in the next week because i'm gonna be busy starting on the 20th. Something like one every other day is the plan.

    1. "When I Get Home" by Solange
    2. "Purple Mountains" by Purple Mountains
    3. "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo
    4. "Deceiver" by DIIV"
    5. "Bible Songs 1" by The Austerity Program
    6. "Jade Bird" by Jade Bird

    Okay, so, I remember the existence of the band DIIV, because they were in the pitchfork news cycle a LOT, and I remember there was some kind of controversy around them a few years ago. I listened to their first album, I dont remember anything on it, positive or negative. Although, to be fair, if I thought something positive about it then it would probably be in my music library, and it isn’t. Regardless, that was almost a decade ago, so lets see how I feel about DIIV in 2020.

    It’s been a while since I’ve listened to alt-influenced indie rock that’s not Deerhunter so it’s weird to go back to that. I will say that the actual production is pretty great. It sounds very full without trying to force it into sounding like soaring pop stuff. The chords in the verse are really nice, even if that’s balanced by the obviousness of the chorus chords. Sometimes the obvious stuff works, though, and it’s doing OK here. The outro though is very, very good. The build is well timed and purposeful, and it earns the crescendo. Good opening song!

    This is shoegaze adjacent. I have no idea if that’s new but it’s not what I associated with them. I’m actually going to ask a friend of mine if they remember if that’s how the band’s been. Anyways, I’m still enjoying the sound and the production. I’m going to look up the lyrics now. … yeah okay rock lyricism. I’ll say something about the lyrics again when I feel like I have something to say about them. Decent tune, a little slow.

    I’m starting to worry this is the default speed of the record, and nothing’s going to get faster, which means it’s only going to get slower. Damn this musclehead brain of mine. I do appreciate that verse two is longer than verse one to make up for the time they had to spend establishing the phrases of the song. Again, the outro is very strong and well developed. They’re not untalented writers, but it’s starting to get a little samey.

    The acoustic intro made me feel like “welp that’s what I get for opening my mouth, it’s ballad time.” At least we can hold off from that for a little bit. This song is a little different, it doesn’t feel as fuzzy and the guitars are sounding more like bells during the “chorus.” The outro also sounds different from the last few and that’s appreciated. This is probably my favorite song on here so far.

    I’m finding myself with very little to say here. I’ve covered all the thoughts and emotions the record has elicited in me already, and we’re just kind of stuck there. At the moment, this record is fine, but I’ve been fighting to keep my mind from wandering which is not the best sign. This is the first song where the crescendo has felt trite, like it’s just the rest of the song Plus Gain. Maybe the other songs had the same kind of outro, but maybe they were nuanced enough that I didn’t notice.

    Every time the songs start quiet I’m like terrified it’s ballad time. I have even less to say than I had last time. I’m at least learning that “loud” is not enough for me by itself. There’s a brief frequency cut in the outro that’s like a beat drop, and that was a cool sound.

    OH MY GOD FASTER RHYTHM. It’s an immediate breath of fresh air from what the album’s been, by both pushing the shoegaze stuff down and speeding the pace up. If this song was sooner on the record it would have been nice but it’s a relief regardless. This is my new favorite song on here.

    Aaaaand ballad time. Granted this is more power ballad than just regular old ballad thanks to the return of the shoegaze elements. Weirdly, by being so much slower it also ends up feeling like a relief from the rest of the album. So it’s good that there’s a ballad, but like the last song, it might have worked better if it happened a single track sooner. Like, imagine if side B of this record starts with the last song and then this song. Oh well. And don’t think I haven’t noticed the last song is 7 minutes long. By the way my friend just got back to me and yes, DIIV has always been kinda shoegazey, so good to know.

    MORE FAST SONGS HOLY SHIT. Yeah okay Side B of this record is a lot better than Side A. This track specfically feels almost Pinback-y thanks to the low toned chords. Also it turns out this song, while still being Rock Lyricism Deluxe, is at least about a thing. Maybe if there was a time to stop the moaning singing it would be while talking about the coal industry, because otherwise it just kind of sounds like adapting a current event into your outline. That’s just me though. It’s still fast and good and well written.

    The Metal Bass Intro makes me think we’re gonna do a slow build and not necessary an ending ballad which will be nice. The Japanese in the chorus made me laugh. I’m starting to think we’re not gonna be speeding up, but instead just stretching out the crescendo extra long. It’s a choice. Still, not technically a ballad, just kind of an underwhelming ending in it’s own way.

    = = =

    If this was an EP that was just Side B, this would be amazing. Unfortunately the sameiness of the first half of the record sours how the record should end. If you start with a bunch of big monoliths, the ending is just Another Big Monolith, no matter how much bigger you try to make it. Ultimately, it’s fine, and really well produced.

    • Like 1

  3. Kentucky Route Zero TV Edition appears to be on its way to release.

    They have a hotline you can call (1-858-WHEN-KRZ) that for the past few months has only had a single option on the menu, to let you hear a cute message saying that it's in development and you can call whenever you want to be assured it's still in development.

    That message changed this weekend: now when you hit that option on the menu, you're put on hold for thousands of minutes that add up to Tuesday 1PM EST. There's no way to know if that's an announcement of a release date or a sudden release of the game, but either way, I am vibrating with anticipation, and my personal Game of the Year campaign is already done.


  4. Alright, we're locked in now. Thanks again to everyone that contributes to this, I appreciate having the chance to talk about records at length because it helps me refine my own songwriting process. Entertaining y'all makes me better at my passion. It's a blessing to have this.

    "well maybe if you wrote good songs you'd entertain people" alright jeff ross, cool it.

    1. "When I Get Home" by Solange
    2. "Purple Mountains" by Purple Mountains
    3. "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo
    4. "Bible Songs 1" by The Austerity Program
    5. "Jade Bird" by Jade Bird

    I’m going to keep this one short: I have little exposure to David Berman’s catalog, and this record was the soundtrack to some of the most horrifying shit I’d ever went through. I don’t mind listening to it a second time, but, I’m not sure what all I’m going to be able to say about it. I’m definitely not going to talk about the lyrics at length because David Berman is known for his lyrics and rightly so- they’re all amazing on this record.

    I love the intro of this record. It sets the tone pretty much immediately of everything that’s about to come, the opening credits music of one of the saddest records ever made. The chorus dropping the rhythm of the song is a pretty brilliant move as well, it makes the sentiment of the words feel different from the rest of the song, which they are.

    This is a brilliant song. It’s two chords- maybe three- but the way everything is paced makes it feel like it’s gliding across the sky. The way the drums dip in and out of the mix while retaining the feeling of a rock song is tricky business. Holding the second bridge longer is a fantastic way to build tension, because when the next chord hits it feels like release without having to rely on anything but timing. No volume, no pedals, just a snare drum and a chord change.

    Yeah the thing about the songwriting this record is that it’s just a case study in deft touches. If you have to do verse chorus structure, this is about as good as you can do on making those transitions not feel like the verses are the lead up to the logo treatment and are actually telling a story. A lot of choruses these days feel over developed and over clever. The focus on “the hook” eclipses the importance of making the rest of the song any good at all.

    I don’t have a lot to say about this one. It’s a ballad and it’s well constructed enough but it doesn't change anything about how I feel about ballads. It at least has multiple instruments, resisting the temptation of ballads to pare down to as few instruments as possible like that’s inherently interesting.

    This might be one of my favorite songs on the record. There’s a cruelty in the sound of it that you don’t often associate with acoustic guitars, and it perfectly sits with the lyrics and their anger.

    See, I have a theory. American rock is influenced, above all else, by the open road. That’s why it’s possible to have the observation of music being good for driving, because Americans spend so much time doing it. As such, the momentum of rock songs feels like different kinds of roads, different kinds of speed limits. The hanging synth chords and the rhythm of the song are used here to excellent effect: they create a landscape of a small town which creates the small town Berman’s talking about in the song. This is the kind of thing I mean when I talk about instrument choice and song writing speaking to a central message of a song.

    I would feel like a real piece of shit for saying anything about this song.

    This is my other favorite song on the record. Death has visited my life a fucking lot, and only a few songs have worked to help me feel normal about that. This is one. Musically, every melody in this song perfect and memorable. There’s chords, but they’re the setup for every other phrase.

    This is another song I relate to a lot. I appreciate that on the record this is one of the happier sounding songs, where it’s kind of an “aw shucks” approach to being caught in cognitive loops. On a related note, being a psychology student has resulted in me having the knowledge of like how to diagnose problems like cognitive loops and let me tell you- hasn’t helped. Anyways!  This song is a good bit of catharsis post-Slow Jam About The End. The convulsant guitar solo at the end adds a lot to the feeling of the song, as though it’s representing those storylines.

    Look, I’m just going to make a quick point about the ending ballad thing. On this album, and on David Bowie’s Blackstar, there's no ending ballad. So, uh, stop doing that. This song feels like ending credits, like a revisiting of the intro with the newly gained information. “If no one’s fond of fucking me, maybe no one’s fucking fond of me” is a fucking amazing lyric, by the way. It’s a good song

    = = =

    RIP. Thanks for helping me last year. I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of people more than that.

    • Thanks 1

  5. 5 minutes ago, Smelly McUgly said:

    SuperGiant Games is the best. Pyre was legit the best arcade sports game since Blitz: The League or those EA Big games in the Street series. 

    Bastion is brilliant, too. I'm just waiting for Hades to eventually hit console after their Epic Store exclusivity is up. 

    fwiw the exclusivity is up, it's just not going to be on consoles until it's out of Early Access


  6. HADES [4]
    While my memory isn't good enough to say how far back this statement would have to cover to be true, I will say that Hades is the best action game I can remember having played for quite some time. It's an isometric rougelike from the Bastion & Transistor team and that's enough to know how good it it is, because it's got all their hallmarks: it plays great, the concept is great, the art is great, the music is great, and the writing is great. It's in early access right now though, so that's the only strike against it- it does not have all of the things they're going to put in it. Otherwise, fabulous.

    GTFO [4]
    Speaking of Great Early Access Games with Some Severe Caveats, GTFO! Basically, the original Payday devs made a heist game that replaces all the Heat references with Aliens references. The conceit is, the players are assuming the role of convicts who have been conscripted of retrieving technology from a space mine where the corporation Dug Too Deep. It is exactly as gritty and tense as that sounds. The MAJOR, MAJOR problem is that there is currently no matchmaking in the game whatsoever. You have to either have a Premade 4, or, go onto the GTFO Discord and find people looking to play. So, more than Hades, wait on this one. I'm lucky enough to have four friends equally interested in the game. If you don't, give it a year or so before you pay for it, or go for it if you absolutely have to play Steal The Stuff From The Freaks.


  7. I shall remind ye a final time on New Year's Day, but, the cutoff date for submissions is New Year's Day.

    also because I've already heard the purple mountains record a few times and I'm not listening to that until a few days after New Year's, when partying no longer feels appropriate.

    1. "When I Get Home" by Solange
    2. "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo
    3. "Bible Songs 1" by The Austerity Program
    4. "Jade Bird" by Jade Bird

    I do not know anything about The Austerity Program. My requisite googles told me they’re a two piece noise rock band formed in the 90s, and two of my favorite bands are exactly that set up (Lightning Bolt & The Body). So, odds are decent I enjoy this. That’s as much as I cared to look up. Appropriately short intro for short album. Here we go!

    So far it’s the Jesus Lizard setup, but like honestly why not emulate the Jesus Lizard. My download of this came with a PDF that I thought at first was random verses but I’m quickly realizing are the lyrics. This record is going to have a lot of lyrics! I love the reductionist element here, of having a phrase and just bashing it out while making its carry the rest of the song. It becomes trancelike and that’s a good space for a rock song to be in. It’s good stuff, and a good intro. I’m set on what to expect from the rest of this. Can’t ask for a lot else. Intro’s good too, just cutting off.

    I suspect this is no longer a two person band. That first song is doable as a loop constructing exercise, but this one, not so much. The singer is feeling more and more like an emo singer as this goes on (I had an emo phase before you confuse that for a burn) and it’s an interesting approach. Another one of my favorite noise bands (White Suns) has a very emo approach to vocals. At the same time, I’m not sure how much it’s working in the songs? It’s having trouble punching through the instrumentation, which is either the production or the writing oh it’s over.

    God, I love an overdriven bass. I need to play along with that in my own writing more. The structuring of these songs is really good, untraditional, noisy rock. I love that shit. Death to the verse chorus structure. At the same time, I’m still struggling with the vocalist, although as this song swells up he amps up nicely. I’d like more of that on here, but I imagine since this band’s been around since 97, what I am asking for is “their old records,” so, fair enough. I admire how coherent their walls of noise in these songs. That can be a hard thing to recreate on recording. I’ve failed at it more than a few times.

    This one’s maybe a little on the nose for a record called “Bible Songs 1.” I don’t like this one so much. Like if we’re going to be unnerving with an unnerving topic, we owe it more attention than this. I’ll avoid bringing up the specific topic here cuz I dont know who’s reading but I’m dissatisfied with this one. It doesn’t help that they still go for a crescendo here because even if your intentions are dark, the crescendo is still too much of a rush and it undermines the intention here to me. Oh well.

    Yeah I feel similarly on this song. I feel like this band has a style and a pastiche and they’re not like altering that at all for their topics. Unless they’re meaning to imply “all this stuff is the same topic at the end of the day,” it ends up feeling disrespectful towards their own songwriting, like the band comes to the lyricist with a song and the lyricist goes “uh ok well I have this”

    Well, it’s not an ending ballad, but it’s pretty boring nonetheless. I appreciate that we’re ending in the same trance state songwriting, but it’s still feeling unrelated to the song itself. I do appreciate that it changes completely upon “I’m Coming For You,” which is I think the first time on the record that the lyricism and the music have worked together at all. The outro is very power metal out of nowhere, but considering the closing statement, it works.

    = = =

    So, they have a sound, and I’m sure their body of work covers broader ground than this, but I found this record to start in one gear, stay in that gear no matter the context, and end up crashing into shit on the points where it was the wrong gear. I’m not sure how this release fits in with the rest of their catalog, but if this is par, I'm not sure I'll look through the back catalog.


  8. https://www.spike-chunsoft.com/news/fire-pro-wrestling-world-2020-roadmap/

    Fire Pro Wrestling World's 2020 Development Roadmap. tl;dr:

    • Takayama Charity DLC #2 in January (TAKAYAMANIA rings, logos, edit parts)
    • Additional Wrestler DLC also in January (no details offered)
    • Suda 51 Scenario in February
    • Part Creator and Move Creator in Spring

    So this looks like the end of active development for Fire Pro World, but jesus, what a thing to end with.

    • Like 1

  9. @SturmCRF Hey homie, you’re on the clock. I wont start on yours until thursday at the soonest, but after that it could go up at pretty much any second. If you want me to hold off until you’re absolutely sure, now would be the time to let me know and I’ll go on to the next record in line.

    @Curt McGirt Stop trying to hit me and hit me. 😛 If that's your album of the year, that's fine, I'll listen to it. It doesn't gotta be so hard.

    Okay!

    1. "When I Get Home" by Solange
    2. "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo
    3. "Jade Bird" by Jade Bird

    I have no idea who Jade Bird is. I assumed folk, and like a jade-ish album cover. I got the cover wrong, obviously, but the first sentence of the wikipedia article says “Jade Elizabeth Bird is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and former Stage School pupil.” Given the crushing existential dread that accompanies every experience I’ve ever had looking up anything about the English school system, I’m not going to go learn what “Stage School” means. That said, singer/songwriter sure leads me to think that we’re going folky. Let’s see how long I can get into this record before I start ranting about how much I hate British music production techniques.

    Uh, post-script, this is just a reminder that I make no promises that what I write about a given record is gonna be positive.

    Well we’re at least starting there. Short intro phase establishing the rest of this song qualifies for that “records that get started thing.” I love the use of ‘You sure you wanna do this now” between the verse and the chorus. It’s such a specifically tense question that it curdles the song without having to change a second of the tone or key. The gradual introduction of instruments is nice but I feel it’s a bit rushed? Granted I’m into what I’m into, but I think they really could have put more into the moments before the instruments came in. It had a symphonic breeze in it and oops it ended already next song.

    This is very rote. I’ve been letting it go, trying to find something to grab onto. The bridge is really lush and beautiful but it feels like it’s from some other song with how different it is. The lyrics are the kind of non-specific stuff that has to be to make love songs palatable and damnit I promised not to rant about British music. Not yet.

    Oh boy. Okay yeah we gotta talk about the british music thing. A lot of British pop and rock just gets my hackles up because it feels exactly like you’d expect individualistic music from a caste society to come from. It’s perfected under threat of exile. The recipe says verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, outro. The song is alloted one thing to stand out. Here, it’s the super-fast verse in the hook, and it’s also in the bridge in case you forgot what the gimmick was. This song is That: The Song.

    Okay, I waited the verse-chorus loop and I think the songwriting here is, while exactly the same structurally as the last song, is a more interesting selection of chords, and so that’s keeping me interested. This sounds like the song that the bridge from track 2 escaped from. The outro is also better off for structuring itself as an extention of the bridge instead of just a straight up reprisal of the chorus.

    Ballad time. This does nothing to change my opinion on ballads. Like, okay, I’ve tried to write a single ballad in my life, and it was explicitly as an extremely dark joke (you may be able to hear it next year, depending on the summer). I can’t put myself in the headspace to do that more than once. And yet there’s a world full of songwriters that are capable of writing these things with ease. Maybe it’s a gift.

    Oh god please don’t get slower after the ballad. Okay I’m gonna try to hone in on the lyricism because I feel like I’ve been ignoring the content of the songs because I’ve been so distracted by the roteness of the writing. Aaaand I’m not picking up on anything. The bridge is a good image (“Lady on fire / Waiting it out”) but the return to the chorus is jarring. It feels like a brief cameo from An Emotion.

    When I googled her this was one of the songs that come up. The lyrics in this are trying to thread a specific line and it doesn’t work for me at all. Specifically the line that soured me is “She wears short skirts so you don’t ask her if you can check her phone.” That the phone-check is just totally acceptable behavior makes my skin crawl. When the song transitions to “you’re falling for the same thing I did” it ends up changing the tone even worse. I actually had to take a break after this song to reread the lyrics and make absolutely sure I understood the song correctly and was more dispirited to learn that I had. The only thing that would ease me about this is seeing some hint that she was trying to write from the perspective of a character, or a demographic. Otherwise it sets off all my “abuse survivor” alarms.

    Yeah uh this record has shifted from making me uncomfortable on account of the industry-structured songwriting and into the context. Granted I tend to view breakups as less "split" and more "escape," so I'm struggling to understand the perspective of trying to talk to an ex. I'm also confused about "are her lungs made of steel so when she says she loves you, you forget how I made you feel?" I am trying to see the connection other than "More like made of STEAL haw haw" and I'm not getting it.

    more ballads. "Stay, let me explain why I act so mean."  I have very little positive to say about this song, other than "it's all brilliantly produced and perfectly in tune."

    I'm really struggling to find any of this positively relatable. Like at least there's sentiments in this song I've run into, right? I guess I feel put off by the weird friendzone-esque posturing of "you're good but I need bad," like it's not understood that attraction is completely random. The outro made me sigh. There are multiple things on this record that have been done before.

    Okay so the googles suggested that Jade Bird did some amount of Americana and it's all right here on this record apparently. It feels better than the last few songs rhythmically but I'm still too disquieted from the last few songs approach content-wise that I feel like I can't give this a fair shot. It all feels like trying to generalize a way-too-specific story and it ends up feeling like a justification.

    ENDING BALLAD. 😖 At least it's about death instead of some vague other kind of ending.

    = = =

    So, with a lot of records, I understand how a certain year can make a certain album feel like armor. I get how this could be someone's year. There's parts of it that make me really worried about what specifically was happening that year and like what they've been up to? But, I get it. And there's no complaints with the performances or the musicianship of anyone on this record. This is a lot of things I can't stand, but nothing that puts it in some kind of objective Bad category. I would just prefer to never hear this person again.


  10. LETS GET BACK TO IT

    1. Solange – When I Get Home
    2. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

    I mean, okay, “yes I know who solange is” isn’t interesting because of the nature of her family. If you follow music in America you’ve probably at least heard the name and who her sister is. As for past experiences, I liked A Seat At The Table though it has a lot of slow stuff on it, and we’ve talked about the hole in my head for ballad adjacent music in these threads for long enough to be worth meditating on it again. I heard this album once earlier this year and I’d marked a few songs on it for mix material, but this’ll be my first time just sitting with it with no distractions on my good speakers.

    I usually do one paragraph per track, but since there’s a lot of interludes and things around 30 seconds, those wont get mentions. It’s not because they’re not important to the tone of the record. It’s strictly about time management and where I think I’ll be spending most of my energy writing. Here we go!

    So the intro is an interesting structure, of like a simple phrase floating in space and reiterating itself over and over, developing in the song as a Laurence Weiner piece would develop in the mind of the spectator. There’s an artist named Yves Jarvis who did something similar on his record this year to a really powerful effect. I’d really recommend checking that record out. We’ve also talked about my propensity for records that Just Start and this counts, even if the purpose is slow and dreamlike.

    So the first time I listened to this record, this is when I started making notes like “this’ll be good for a mix” because it addresses a thing I wasn’t a huge fan of on A Seat at the Table: The drums didn’t hit as hard as it felt like the songs deserved. That’s extremely not a problem on this record. The use of chopping (or maybe pseudo-chopping?) in the song is absolute dynamite. It makes the hook hit that much harder. Oh right, Tyler’s on this song. Man, speaking of albums I could scream about this year, IGOR. But anyways, this song is great. I love the blurry outro.

    This is the first song I put on a mix (to explain: I DJ my friends parties since we have two a year, one in the summer and one in the winter) and it’s because the bass and drums on this song are FILTHY. I’m in this space of my life right now where I’m listening to a lot of funk, 70s prog rock, and fusion. So, considering that, this song hits me just right. This is like one of the top three songs on this record to me. I’m not talking a lot about the lyrics btw because my understanding is they’re very much about Houston and I try not to talk when I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    This is the second song from this record I put on a mix. It’s just a gorgeous club love song. It’s REALLY hard to have a song that repeats musical phrases this often and still feel like it’s developing and growing, but they nail it. The other thing I love about this song is that it’s pop instrumentation without having to rely on verse-chorus-bridge like that.  Also top three on here for me.

    God, the synths on this record. We go back to the phrase meditation on this song and it works perfectly. It’s also continues playing with the dream-like motif that’s been going through this record that’s made the sound pop so much.

    GOD THE SYNTHS. Sorry, I just got lost listening to this one for a second. This song is fantastic and monolithic in the best way. I will say that I am not earth’s biggest Playboy Carti fan, and this song does very little to change that. However, when the beat switches for the outro, his voice does compliment that change.

    Ballad time. It’s at least still got that synthesizer on it cranking away so it keeps my attention better than a lot of ballads do. The chords are beautiful as well, making this track sound like some kind of future jazz bar’s weekend singing attraction. Also, credits here say that Sampha’s on this track, and Sampha is kind of the reason I listened to A Seat At The Table in the first place. Sampha is a genius and I will listen to any song he’s attached to at least once. When the beat switches on this it’s jarring in the right way, it gives the song a menace that I love, capitalizing on the bass that’s been dancing around the slow piano all song long.

    This song is the first duet I can think of where it just sounds like friends having fun instead of some weird performative “WE’RE GONNA SINGFUCK” thing, even though it definitely turns sexual in the back half of it. It’s a lot of levity after how that ballad ends so savagely.

    Another ballad, again with the dancing bass synthesizer. I think it’s fine to return to this sound because it’s so well detailed but the last appearance wasn’t a complete exploration of everything you could do with this sound. Also, I love the line “You’ve got a lot of static / you’ve got it in your bones.”

    UGH that transition is so nice. The drums hit hard as fuck. This is another song that feels like it was just fun to make. I used to feel weird about musicians talking money in a flaunting way, but I’ve softened on that over time because it just makes sense to talk about what’s changed in your life, and in some populations that money change is a Whole Lot.

    This feels like a longform intermission but the synths are still completely beautiful and it’s a good speed transition from the last track, back into the dreamy sounds and fading sense of time.

    That intro is jarring as hell but it works to snap out of the chorale of the Exit Scott interlude. This is another excellent track where the rhythm section gurgles underneath these dreamlike melodies. By the way, I haven’t made a lot of mention of this, but Solange’s voice is fucking amazing and the whole record is written to compliment it so, so well.

    So it’s an ending ballad, but, it’s a surrealist one that revisits parts of the introduction to link the whole album together as a single document, while also resolving that hanging chord from the intro. It feels like it makes the whole record let go.

    = = =

    All of the songwriting on this record is just immaculate. If I was going to explain to someone my position of how you can make pop music without having to rely on radio structure, this is an album I could use as a central example. It’s not a commodity, but you can’t say it doesn’t work beautifully. Content wise, it wasn’t made for me so I cant say that it moved me in that way, but for people that can relate to the songs more than I can I imagine this record’s got healing powers. Either way, completely worth checking out.

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  11. On 12/11/2019 at 10:40 AM, Tromatagon said:

    Tekken 7 released TWO DLC characters yesterday, Ganryu and Leroy Smith.

    These opinions are from a dude that doesn't give a shit about hit boxes or frame data or high level tournament play and just likes casually playing Tekken against the CPU or friends.  I play Treasure Battle constantly, more or less.  

    Ganryu and Wang were my mains in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, so I was pretty happy because Ganryu is still Ganryu.  I started playing Ganryu when Harada said he was his favorite character.  It turns out Harada was bullshitting and joking and just said that because he was the least popular character.  I had thought it was legit praise and decided to try the guy out as a result.  I ended up loving his play style and really enjoying him, so I basically got trolled into a favorite character.

    In the trailers, Leroy appeared to be a big black Wang.  I figured he was a replacement for Wang, who timeline wise should be DEAD AS SHIT by now, he was already like 120 years old in the last game.  My trailer read wasn't entirely accurate.  Sadly, he's a bit less fluid than Wang, which is to say he's a bigger blacker stiffer Wang, but he's still pretty good, just had too much blue chew or something.  He's one of the more fun characters in Tekken as it is.  I think he's blind but also a pimp but also a kung fu master.  You don't get a lot of story background on DLC people.  He has a cool dog.

    as someone that does enjoy high level tekken, and likes learning about all that hit box/frame data stuff: Leroy is from hell. It'd be one thing if he had a really counter heavy play style, because then the parry stance would make more sense. The problem is that his moveset is largely extremely safe and his damage is FUCKING INSANE, so he can be played as either the best defensive character in the game or the best offensive character in the game, with basically no execution requirement to make those playstyles work. Usually when a character has that many tools they have some kind of significant deficit. For example, Wang was soul crushing defensively, but, his range wasn't exactly amazing, so he had to either get in real close or let people come to him before he could do anything. Leroy doesn't have that problem at all.

    on one hand, it's nice to know that The Character From Hell is an original character for Tekken, and it's not Akuma anymore. On the other hand, god damn I do not want to face Leroy ever.


  12. WHAT THE GOLF [2]
    So on the last page, I mentioned that a 2 can mean I think the game is good but I had a bad time with it. Here's an example: This game is basically Golf Warioware (admittedly with a more grating aesthetic) but on PC, it has this nasty problem. See, in "Exclusive Fullscreen" it doesn't stop the mouse from leaving the screen. It's a game that requires a mouse cursor. I, however, have a dual monitor setup, so I can easily click something on the other screen while I'm playing. This would not be the end of the world usually, but what it does when the mouse clicks off the game is it minimizes the game and doesn't pause it. This is uninstallingly frustrating considering how quickly the puzzles go from "haha a mechanic" to "Mouse Action Puzzle Game With A Loud Whining Crowd Whenever You Fail." So, if you have two monitors, do not buy this game on PC. Otherwise it seems neat.

    KILLER INSTINCT [4, provisionally]
    My main Steam Sale pickup (other than KOF 13), and at the moment I'm in love with it. After spending a solid year grinding in Tekken, playing a game that is less demanding on execution is a god-send, especially since the game finds other ways to be fun like making you actively think during combos. I'm still in the phase where I'm getting my ass kicked with great regularity, but I have a character (Kim Wu) and I'm fascinated to learn more about how this game works. Extremely satisfied with my time so far.

    KING OF FIGHTERS XIII [4]
    look i'm an old KOF fan even though I am TRASH at the game so like idk man it's got the good sprites and my team's in here (Iori/Maxima/Andy). I'm good.


  13. 4 hours ago, Smelly McUgly said:

    Killer Queen was awesome. I played it in an arcade, and it was pretty fun. 

    Pokemon is a bad game, and you still gave it a three? What did you like about it?

    So my 4 point scale means an extremely specific thing
    1 = I hate this game
    2 = I regret playing this game
    3 = I don't regret playing this game
    4 = I love this game

    So, while Pokemon Sword is pretty objectively bad, the circumstances in which I've got it and the person I'm sharing the time with make up for that deficit.

    Put another way, one can play a bad game and have a good time. That's a 3 on my scale. one can play a good game and have a bad time. That'd be a 2 for me.

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  14. DEATH STRANDING [4]
    hiking to episodes of the world's worst fiction podcast that has the most expensive fan animation possible. i'll probably 100% it.

    POKEMON SWORD [3]
    Let's be perfectly clear: I think this game is bad. The circumstances I have received it under (sent to me by someone who is going through A Lot to have something to talk to them about) mean that I'm glad to have it and glad to play it, but holy shit man. I don't know what you'd call the uncanny valley in terms of architecture and world design, but it's in here. The inside of every building feels wrong. Impossible. It's deeply unsettling. Also, the game is significantly easier than the last pokemon game I played (Moon) but with no charm, just perverted towers and an online mode that lets you see other people at the cost of around 40FPS. A Mess.

    KILLER QUEEN BLACK [4]
    An amazing game piled to the top with smart ideas. It launched on PC and Switch, and it immediately had both Crossplay and the ability to play all four players of a team on one system. The game has a spectate mode, and the spectate mode latches onto one game at a time so when you want to take a break but still watch the game to learn about it, you and your friends are watching the same game to learn from it. It's got two buttons (Jump and Action), three win conditions, ways to counter all of them, and a bunch of maps played in random orders. It's just fantastic.


  15. A day late, but, we're here. By the way, for this thread, I'm gonna put a reaction on your post when I've posted your specific review.

    I heard Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” for the first time in 2018, and thought it was a fun song and was pretty sure at some point she’d be a star. Unfortunately, the first time I’ve ever mentioned that thought anywhere was right now, so it looks like I’m pulling some “I KNEW LIZZO BEFORE EVERYONE KNEW LIZZO, BUNCHA BANDWAGONERS” type of thing.

    I’m conflicted on Lizzo, and not because of any like plagarism thing (fuck the marvin gaye estate for making this litigious hell songwriters are now at risk of, but also fuck robin thicke in general (especially for that record about his ex-wife, holy shit that thing’s gross)). There’s like multiple facets to the conflict here.

    • I have a lot of misgivings with the body positivity movement because while there are people who mean it and are coming from the right place with it, the arrival of body positivity in pop culture has come along with a lot of capitalist recoup and I feel tense about the marketing aspect.
    • I also feel like it’s a thing I don’t get to claim for myself. Before I say anything further on that, let me assure you that I’m super aware of the hell that the pursuit of thinness puts on young women and the literal harm it can cause. I understand that my needs aren’t first in line. I’m still in that same line. I’m a self-conscious fat man who has seen on more than one occasion someone be radically body positive and supportive towards women and then degrading towards fat men.
    • I also am suspicious of body positive art. Again, it’s meant from a lovely, well meaning place, but like… okay, for every style of human suffering and vice and problem, there’s art about that state of being. With the exception of, like, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, the only art I know of that has anything to say about how hard and painful fatness can be is mine. I’m sure there’s others out there. They don’t get elevated in the same way that like records about addiction do.
    • And all of this is kind of moot when it comes to Lizzo, because the “BODY POSITIVE ARTIST” thing is a thing that’s forced onto her. She’s not out here being a deliberate radical activist. She writes catchy love songs, but because she’s larger than what society dictates is an acceptable person to make songs like that it becomes a radical act.

    All of that is to say I’ve heard Juice and Truth Hurts and never checked out the record until now because the conversation around it when it came out was mind-numbing. Here we go! As always, one paragraph per song.

    Alright I’ve mentioned this in past reviews, but I love records that start with phrases like this, because it has this feeling of like “I DON’T HAVE TIME, I’VE GOT A LOT TO SAY AND WE NEED TO GET STARTED RIGHT NOW.” Still true. This song’s also neat because last year, one of the records I listened to had a lot of really peculiar 808 usage in the middle of more bluesy tunes, but this song does that a lot more tastefully than that ever did. This is a really strong introduction to the record. Lizzo’s trying to blow out her voice immediately.

    This is alright. Lizzo’s personality carries this song, which I imagine is going to get me through a lot of the songs on here when they end up as tonally generic as this. I harp on instrument choice a lot in songwriting and this is like instrument choice for maximum demographic spread. It counts as a purpose, even if it’s not an interesting one to me. Still, the lyrics and Lizzo’s voice make it work.

    Juice is a fuckin’ Jam. I don’t know how else to describe it, and you’ve probably heard it by now so you know. Also, I cannot hear about Grey Goose in any context without laughing for reasons not worth explaining.

    Hey wait I’m a Gemini 😞 nah uh this is an alright song. The beat doesn’t move me but it’s not wack or anything.

    For a ballad it’s alright. I harp on the repetition of ballads a lot, but actually on this record the ballads are the place where the sound deviates from the modern pop format, using doo-wop structure with subwoofers and treated horns. So that’s nice.

    OH MAN. See, this is what I mean with the slower tracks having the space to sound different on here. This is an excellent song. I can’t tell if that’s an actual guitar, so let’s go look. … can’t track down the actual credits. Whatever. This song is the best song on here so far. The chords are gorgeous and the rhythm section is trying to punch holes in speaker cones. Only thing is I wish it was longer.

    I also love this. I know there’s a Missy Elliot verse coming but it sounds like there should be as well. Just sounds real mean and grimy. Whoever’s actually engineering the sub on this record is doing a killer job, they’ve made it sound warm which is a hard trick.

    Three straight good songs. The structure feels like it’s swelling to a point of explosion every time it adds something, from the first verses to Gucci Mane showing up. I bet there’s a version of this song where the outro is just this enormous horn explosion and that’s how her concerts close.

    Again, the sub bass on this record is just fantastic. I’m not into the rest of the sound on this song, but again when the song is dipping, Lizzo seems to put on extra personality and pulls it back up into something that fits on this record. I’m envious of that talent to just like fix a song with your own personal style. This tune without Lizzo feels lifeless.

    I like the structure of the hook on this one. It’s a return to the subwoofersoul sound from the other ballads, just turned all the way up. The beat switch at the end is also a good touch, but it’s touching on something that I’m struggling with on this record. I know pop music has given people a complex about attention span, but the idea of this song- and Crybaby for that matter- could expand so much further past the pop song limitations. Yet, the songs are hurried and pulled down to earth to avoid wearing out their welcome, and I’d like to see her have more confidence in her own compositions to let a song like this really last.

    I usually groan at ending ballads, but there’s a good amount of funk and expansion in this one so instead of sounding like a comedown it sounds like, well, a climax. I don’t like the sudden cut at the end, but I get it; on a record full of huge endings, the most intimate song has the smallest. So, not mad.

    = = =

    Overall, it’s good. There’s some great songs, and there’s also some stuff that sounds like a test sample for mainstream radio styles. Hopefully she’s made note that the songs of hers that blew up escape that pop radio style and she pushes further down those paths, because when she’s doing that it can be downright amazing.

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