Sixty for 60: 24. beabadoobee

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my social media friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am 60. Today I have decided to indulge myself and choose a new song from beabadoobee – Last Day On Earth.

I’ve had occasion to write about beabadoobee before, doubtless noticing her wonderfully seductive vampiric qualities, her ability to plunder some of the finer, slightly more obscure aspects of what once was called ‘indie’ music in the late 80s/early 90s. Last time around, I was more than surprised to hear myself listening to what sounded like Felt on the Radio One Breakfast Show; this time around I am more than happy to be reminded of The Sundays (specifically ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’) whenever Greg James decided to cast a glance in the direction of beabadoobee – albeit with a little of The Stone Roses’ delectable rhythm section (specifically ‘Waterfall’) thrown in. Maybe it’s the Matt Healy connection? I am rather fond of yr Matt Healy. Maybe it’s the context (much as I enjoy Greg James’ slightly forced banter and love of cricket vaguely charming, I can’t say I am a fan of the lukewarm grey lacklustre singer-songwriter uncle rock his programmers like to populate his programme with). Context is everything.

I listen to beabadoobee now, shorn of the context of bleary Monday mornings and sullen children arguing, and once again think that perhaps she’s a little too cutsie, a little too slick, a little too Urban Outfitters for my taste. A little too landfill indie. Perhaps I am simply way too old.

And then I go back and check the lyrics and I am like, yeah. Whatever.

I want to get fucked up at home
Be naked alone
And turn up my phone
Because this song I wrote
Is just so fucking sick

Frankly, I prefer “People I know/Places I go/Make me feel tongue tied” but maybe subtlety is no longer allowed in the TikTok generation. Either way I know I am gonna love this the next time I tune into Radio One with the kids.

How NOT to write about music – 150. Hayley Williams

hayley-williams-makeup

Apropos of nothing, I came across this great review of an old Paramore single by Neil Kulkarni:

Ugh, yak, do you know what’s fucking up rock music in a big big way at the moment? Drummers. Terrible drummers. Drummers that can do impressive, can do the macho thing, can LOOK like they’re rocking out, let their hair fly, throw their arms into all the right ‘classic rock’ shapes, but have not an ounce of feel or humanity to anything they do. It’s not even about replicating machines being the problem, it’s that drummers seem to exist in a bubble, happy with the patina of ‘rock’ they visibly and audibly throw out around themselves and their kit, seemingly unaware or uncaring about whether they’re in any way helping out the band they’re in or the song they’re singing. ‘Daydreaming’ is not a terrible song (think Eve’s Plum b-side) but you can almost picture the cock behind the kit being so proud of his tumbles and rolls it damn near makes you sick, and derails any sense of flow or groove the song could’ve had. As bold and powerful and freespirited and rocking as a Primark AC/DC t-shirt. I totally blame Dave Grohl for this bullshit.

Well, she’s shed the drummer…

I first heard this last week on the home of all great new music, the Radio One Breakfast Show with Greg James, and absolutely hated it. Heard it a few times. Softened through partial osmosis. Unexposed to the challenge of challenging new music, stung into appreciation by its points of difference with Calvin Harris (say) and Lewis ‘grey’ Capaldi, secretly enjoying its grace and persistence. Over-performed, but that’s what she does, isn’t it? Heard it again. Thrilled by casual recognition and the long spaces between the silences. Cheered by the way that each time you think it might have ended.

It

hasn’t.

Simmering satisfyingly like a good brew of generic Sainsbury’s tea matched to a £3 box of Maltesers. Obvious but in a non-obvious way. Playful and a little dark.

Yesterday while I was listening to a guest lecturer talk about Gorillaz’s third album, and IammiwhoamI, I discovered this:

Last week, Twitter exploded with screenshots comparing Williams’ videos with those of Jonna Lee. People began to accuse Williams and her team of blatant plagiarism and artistic theft. The visuals are very similar, from the cocoon theme to the white morph suits. Many believe that Lee was subtweeting Williams and calling attention to the issue in the tweet below.

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Seems somewhat tenuous. Not least because it seems to be Williams’ change of pace seems to be partly inspired by the continued rise of Billie Eilish. (“Give in” = “duh”. Loud/soft, up close breathing. No shouts. No calls. Easy slippage through beats and percussion, slight raise of tempo, slight release – dark, foreshadowed.)

Google asks, “Does Billie Eilish like Nirvana?”

As someone else argued:

Capture1

Love all this though. Saves me from having to describe the music.

It

hasn’t.