How NOT to write about music – 91. Haley Heynderickx

Haley Heynderickx

Some sweet, awkward music in a sweet setting. I like the fact you can hear the joins, anticipate the embarrassment. I like the fact she can articulate her songs, that there is thought – possibly too much thought – behind them. I like the fact you can hear echoes of The Roches in her (don’t say winsome, don’t say winsome!) winsome music and gently teasing harmonies. There again, I love traces of The Roches wherever they may fall. I love the trombone, even if it does sound too mournful and worthy for my comfort zone.

Note to self: not sure how a trombone can sound worthy. Wonder whether this word is being used as an euphemism.

It’s the first song I love the most. The next too are too fussy and self-aware, and self-consciously smart. Nothing wrong with being self-conscious or smart, just the linking of the two can send tremors down places I would rather the tremors did not travel. I greatly prefer this song:

And I greatly prefer this live version to the recorded version, which feels a tad too solemn and over-produced for my own very particular taste. It’s a thin line that separates, etc etc etc.

From Portland. Of course she is.

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How NOT to write about music – 90. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish
Reinforcement. That’s what music journalism usually provides, not searching out new routes, supplying treasure maps to undreamed-of troves, expanding minds. Reinforcement. You want your taste validated, reinforced… well, come this way. Walk this way. Talk this way. You know you don’t really need a seal of approval, an award, a plaque on your wall stating what great aesthetic choices you make on a day-to-day basis, but… well. It’s still nice, isn’t it? Get an expert in to agree with you. Check your DIY plumbing and vouchsafe for its sturdiness. In the absence of any friends…

The shocker for me is the way I often validate myself, sometimes unknowingly. I wrote about Lizzo yesterday, but I first wrote about Lizzo six years ago (thanks to a then brand-new writer Lee Adcock). I knew how cool Billie Eilish was the first time I heard her on the Radio One Breakfast Show. The review I wrote then remains inch-perfect and I see no reason to change it now.

I have this on constant repeat and it races round my head on a loop of delight and discovery. It is playful, it teases but it is also maudlin and it depresses. It is conflicted, confused. I love conflicted, confused. That is my main jam in life. Feeling conflicted. Such a natural pace and rhythm and timing. The way it stops and then jolts awake. The way it jolts awake and then screams silently and then stops and then runs away and then loops around once more. The way it falls asleep. The Way It Keeps You In The Dark. We all fall asleep. We all feel excited and depressed and maudlin and charged simultaneously. We all like to be playful with our darkest spirits. We all crush. We all crash. We call crush.

If I could I would put this review on an endless timeless loop so it keeps disappearing and reappearing every five minutes. And…

Billie.

Should I pad this out? Careful.

And yet… I seek to reinforce what I have already written. Right now. Right here. I cannot allow such a wonderful moment as what happened over the weekend at Glastonbury to go unremarked upon. Right now. Right here. Is it remarkable that she bounces on the balls of her feet all the way across the stage and exhorts the crowd to join in on the joy? No. Of course not. Billie. Look at the way she dresses! She’s real! Listen to the way she sings! She’s real! Listen to that joy, that knowledge. Billie.

The NME has it right: a once-in-a-generation show. Every time I hear this, ‘Bad Guy’, the album… I am so happy. I think of my two youngest dancing, and I am so happy. I think of myself dancing and I am so happy. I think of Billie dancing across the stage at Glastonbury and I am so happy.

What a time to be alive.

How NOT to write about music – 89. Lizzo

Lizzo

DID EVERETT TRUE DIE JUST SO LIAM GALLAGHER COULD HEADLINE GLASTONBURY 2019

A few days ago, I had a couple of Facebook friends pull me up sharply for negativity. I chose to focus on the fact Liam Gallagher had been wheeled out again to headline at the most beloved-by-the-establishment-of-all-‘alternative’-festivals, and contrasted this fact unfavourably with…

Well, basically…

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My friends were correct to pull me up. Who gives a fuck about one single retro white male playing to the balconies when there are Janelle and Billie and Christine and the inimitable Billie also headlining across various stages – Stormzy too, of course – when all around friends and allies and insurrectionists are getting full-on inspired by the profusion of confusion on offer. And fuck Chris Martin taking on the Evan Dando role.

Duh. This is one of 2019’s defining moments. Duh.

And FUCK YEAH! to this. I haven’t even begun to process how wonderful this is:

But none of them compare to, “I want you to sing this song like it’s fucking YOURS, like it belongs to you and you only” and Lizzo’s society-crumbling flute. The crowd make it. Absolutely. Music has never been just about the performance, it has always been about the reception as well. But obv it does not hurt one bit if the performer is total 1970s soul sister-style inspirational…

DID EVERETT TRUE DIE SO…. YES! FUCKING YES!

P.S. https://twitter.com/ColinGPaterson/status/1144880941493620736