I loved Lana Del Rey from the moment I realized she was going to become one of the most important female vocalists of my generation. The new songs from her “Paradise Edition” album are so fucking pitch perfect. The video for “Ride” was one of the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching beautiful music videos I’ve ever seen. I play the song and it becomes an experience — a phenomenon. Visceral music is achieved when the artist truly creates music and art from their true, authentic vision. Lana totally does this so wholeheartedly and I’m glad I recognize that about her.
I believe she’s doing something important with her music because she’s so unafraid. In the video her voice-over narrative ending with “because I am fucking crazy” is one of the most liberating creative things that I’ve seen from a female artist in ages. She surpasses my previous fascination with Lady Gaga because she honestly does so much more with her music thematically, emotionally, artistically — all of these things Gaga puts way too much effort toward in order to achieve. Gaga is so theatrical that it becomes extreme to the point where all I fucking see anymore is a bitch using the hell out of the planetary-proportion world stage she gets to perform on. She wants to achieve so many important things but I feel she’s ultimately unsuccessful because she doesn’t understand subtlety any longer. Not that it was ever her forte — but jesus, man. How much longer is she going to keep up this act with the world? I find her to be much darker and even like weird/sinister now whereas before I felt so sucked up inside of the image of Lady Gaga and everything she represents. I don’t really like it anymore, which is strange for me to say. I feel like I’ve just outgrown her just like I outgrew like pop-punk music in high school. I began to realize there wasn’t anything really very redeeming about sucky ass music that exists for a trendy marketable sound — I learned to draw the line and truly respect my fascination with Bjork and other electronic artists, and, of course, Fiona Apple. But that’s for an entirely different super-length post. Fiona’s pretty untouchable when it comes to any of my critiques & passion for female artists — and that’s mostly because I know she’s truly in a league of her own. She’s her own strain, her own kind — she lacks the ability to be shuffled into a plausible compare and contrast game with other women vocalists.
If you begin watching every movie or listen to a song by every artist with your brain immediately trying to develop nothing but comparisons — then you’re missing the point, I think. You may as well not even listen to them at all — nor even bother to distinguish the facts of whether you really enjoy it or not. All of it is art — all of it claims a place of respect and the execution of one’s personal vision — and it’s all a huge display of passionate hard work. The fact that most of it gets lost in the “marketable mainstream” is just truly fucked up. I don’t know, I guess I’m harping on this with some resentment — living my whole life begging for a person to come along in my life and acknowledge what I see in the music, film, and art that I ever-so-fucking-much love. Truly, I love all of it. It’s a part of who I am. I manifest my identity and project my own spirit with art as my foundation. Art is my religion, I seek comfort in aesthetics, depth, importance, authenticity, innovation. I don’t care what anyone says — there’s not enough artists out there trying to destroy factory-churned mainstream media and it’s malicious, dishonest representation of art and individual artists. I’m so sick of everyone going about their lives — blindly — not seeing what I see in the beauty of a song, a striking performance from an actress in a $3 million budget film — the masterful abilities expressed in a creative, original music video that incorporates both strong writing and influences of visual art. I love pop music and pop culture, don’t ever get me wrong on that. I just sort of live “around” it in a way — it’s ambivalently embraced with one part of me seeing the truth of sold souls and the other part of me seeing fun, mindless stuff that is meant to just be entertaining. I don’t think art can be generalized and ground down to its core so that it can be “entertaining” to a “specific marketable audience.” This is how this shit works, I see this. I just really feel good articulating it, getting it out of my head. Catharsis comes in large doses when you really let it happen. No one reads my WordPress, and that’s totally okay with me. I have this here, alive in its own way, for myself, with glimmering hope that one day someone may read it and connect with it.
Crystal Castles released their new album (III) this month, as well. I wish I could have seen them when they came to Kansas, but the show didn’t happen. Again, my experience with that album is beyond words for me — I really, really fucking love it. I do not love or like their first album, and the II album was progressive but still undefined and undeveloped — in terms of the concept of what Crystal Castles aspires to be, I guess.
I don’t think Crystal Castles is a band that wants to necessarily “be” anything specific in the mainstream because that’s not a part of their nature, respectively.
It’s just… I don’t know… the darkness of that album is fucking visceral, creepy… it’s totally affecting in every way possible. “Goth” I suppose is their territory on the album, but that’s music generalization/categorization that I’m not interested in. Seriously, the album resonates in my brain and makes me feel this strange sense of immense anxiety — but I can’t define what it is exactly that makes me feel that way. The album just truly fucking establishes an atmosphere like none other. I can’t compare them to other electronic artists, because I know there are predecessors and pioneers that Crystal Castles may be pretty derivative from — maybe not — but the point to me is that they took control of their vision and became fearless with it. Oppression is an obvious theme in the album — but it’s sonic composition is so fucking apocalyptic — and not in the science fiction sort of way — but in the reality/turn on the fucking TV kind of way. It’s a brave album because it’s made by artists who don’t look away from the bad shit — they examine it. The album reveals human nature in a really dark way — and I believe that’s successful in the context of their music being artistic. I know they are a major hipster band, but it almost feels like the production of (III) is beyond anything a hipster would claim to like — it’s lacking any pop-structure that will grab an audience with hooks and linearity — instead it defaults in discordant chaos and a certain resentment toward oppressive structure in electronic music. Mind-bending, original, good. It’s not like top-of-the-list good, but I will be listening to it for some time to come.