Disclaimer: This album review contains content unsuitable for minors, work situations, and the faint of heart. The opinions and views within this review belong solely to the author, and not KRUI or the University of Iowa. Read at your own discretion.
By Vaibhav Sutrave
I don’t buy escapism in music. I don’t buy escapism in anything. Ultimately, books, or philosophy, or physics, or comics, or food, or MUSIC MUST relate to and enrich REAL LIFE. To “make us drink more avidly of life,” like m’boy Hank Miller said. It needs some immediacy. But how to tell? Fortunately, I have devised a simple test:
Get ahold of some porn, video porn. Regular whiteguy porn. Ridiculous, surrealist mainstream porn. If you don’t got any on your computer just go to bangbros and click the first one. Put the volume on max and then play your music just as loud. If you’ve got a boner and you’re laughing, the music’s no good.
It’s (in some distorted form) Dostoevsky’s redemption through sin. Why would you trust a guy that’s ALWAYS known the “true path of (to?) god”? Give me a child molester, give me a serial killer – they’ve been to/licked the bottom of life, and they’ve come up and can tell us the good word with some weight behind it. You sit and listen to the preacher man tell you about the way to go, and where’s he been? Nowhere. Maybe syphilis is the highest religious experience known to man – how’s he know? He knows only half the story – of salvation, kissing earth, etc. etc. (though he doesn’t even mean most of this… how many real preachers have you seen out kissing the earth?) But the truly depraved (if he’s come back through it all, which is maybe even harder to do than to get to the bottom of evil – s’why your average pimp, for example, isn’t a poet-philosopher visionary saint – an Iceberg Slim is a rare thing to come by) knows it all (and they DO kiss asphalt).
Take your red-haired gaptoothed minister, throw him into a room with a beggar with one green-fleshed, 0-legged, pus-filled Indian streetbum and lock the door. See what he does, where his love for humanity goes…
My method is analagous to this. Because it’s hard to put faith in a music that doesn’t know what to do and just stumbles if you put it next to some chick named Sienna Splash getting jizzed on.
Creatures of an Hour, by Still Corners, completely fails this test.
Besides this, it’s dull musically. The second I put it on I knew what the rest of it was going to sound like. It’s all keyboards and the singing of some girl with an unwarranted sense of self-importance. If there were drums in there I didn’t hear them (there were, in fact, drum machine noises) (ie they didn’t drive the music so much as flit along behind like an obligation – what drums seem to be doing in most music nowadays). The keyboards taste like your dad’s warm Listerine backwash. And that voice! Jeezis. I’ll transcribe for you the first few lines of the first song
iss like weh going gooh gooh
just for daaaaaaaaaaaa
for faw daaaaaaaaaaaa
The horny old men of rock criticism have been phased out. They’re all horny young boys now. So I guess it makes sense that a band like this gets a record deal. With a 22 year old girl that wants to be 12, which is what everyone wants, right? Just a cute innocent little thing, that eats dandelions and doesn’t have any body hair and doesn’t fart.
To what I started with, escapism: it’s a prevailing trend in music – this reverting back to early-pubescence/prepubescence. Twee pop is an obvious manifestation of this. After the brutality of 70s punk and the heady headaches of postpunk, we seem to have taken refuge in musical wombs, of some sort:
We have the 60s garage revivalists romanticising the 60s garage/psych scene, making music even more backwards than what THEY were playing. (Hint: back when Van Morrison sang “Baby, you know that I/can only give you everything” he was himself what, 18? Being 18 in the 60s was like being 13 today. Today our 8th graders suck up Nietzsche and Camus off Wikipedia in a matter of minutes. Van still thought that was how it worked. We should KNOW BETTER. We do know better, but we like pretending we don’t.) (So the brutally embarrassing honesty and fire the original 60s bands had turns – in the hands of the bands now trying to steal em – into a fake conviction. Which, when you hear it, becomes a strange, sad thing. It’s like if Bukowski one morning decided to write children’s stories with morals after every one, and if you called him out on it he’d tell you you were just “being a negative prick.”)
The chillwave proponents, believing in some (fake) simple, sunshiney beauty of the 80s (which was only a disgusted mainstream music scene trying to hide from the truths of Public image, Ltd, The Fall, The Pop Group, etc. (Even The Smiths were considered depressing back then. They just seem lighthearted and funny and dumb now. Yet we got kids making even funnier/dumber records, AND claiming complete conviction in them – after all, if it backfires, they always got Irony/Sarcasm.)
It’s not bad to just listen and enjoy, maybe even get influenced. But once you start trying to actively recreate piece-by-piece that atmosphere and those sounds, it gets to be a problem. Still watching/enjoying TMNT is all right – even good. Dressing up like Donatello and eating pizza every day is not.
Besides, it doesn’t work. Just cause you’re young and hip and happy doesn’t mean you’ve solved life – only that you’ve temporarily blinded yourself to it. Real life is brutal and precisely UNsimple – that girl everyone wants, that shaved virgin doesn’t exist. This singer, this “Tessa Murray” doesn’t exist. Not in the form that’s been presented to us.
The chaos must be faced, if we are trying to be truthful and meaningful (cause we ARE, aren’t we? hopefully) – if music is going to have any meaning to real, real life. Sienna Splash and her thirty seconds of fame must be faced, looked in the eye. Still Corners turn away zsoonz they see her short shorts. It is a band completely lacking in substance enough to look Sienna Splash in the eye. And laugh. Or screw. Or cry. Still Corners have no (good) answers, and ask (absolutely) no questions. So forget about em.
(And besides THAT, they’re not even fun to listen to. All this stuff about facing chaos – it’s not a philosophical thing. I’m not writing an English paper here, I have no idea what the lyrics to any of the songs are and couldn’t care. It’s the music that matters, and what I’ve been talking about this whole time. The melodies are infantile. The instruments are as (un)sure of what they’re doing, as convictionless as any bourgeois blonde gutless Business Major. They’re good looking and happy looking and nothing else: FORGET ABOUT EM.