Voyou Désœuvré

I hear grime has been having something of a revival recently, but I haven’t been paying a huge amount of attention to it, at least not compared to 2004/5. I remember back then hearing Logan Sama on the radio playing a track featuring Shola Ama and saying something like “Shola Ama on a grime track? This music must be getting respectable.” I guess if Sama’s doing a mix for Fabric, then grime must be getting respectable again. It’s a good mix, too, ominous beats and energetic MCing. It’s maybe, though, a little bit one-note? Perhaps I’m just romanticizing the grime of ten years ago, but what I remember making it so exciting was its omnivorous influences. Read more↴

I guess Danity Kane were kind of the American Girls Aloud, in that they were a group that came together on a reality TV show but ended up being way better than that might lead you to think. Danity Kane never had the success of Girls Aloud, either commercially or in terms of their music, which was good but not life-changing. Since the band split, Dawn Richard has been making some great records, and now two other ex-members (Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex) are releasing music under the name Dumblonde. Read more↴

New Demi Lovato! The first 10 seconds are fantastic, and I’m not sure the rest of the record quite lives up to it, but still, that imperious bass noise is great. Read more↴

New Selena Gomez! I guess this is an album pre-order bonus rather than a single? It certainly sounds more like an album track, but it’s a good one, and it makes me even more excited about her new album (reminder that Stars Dance is a great album). When I heard that Selena’s new track was going to be written by Charli XCX, I was a bit apprehensive. Charli XCX is great, but her own recent tracks have a kind of performative brattiness that I’m not sure would suit Selena (even Alex, her character on Wizards of Waverly Place wasn’t exactly bratty, it’s more that she had a deep ethical and political commitment to queer anarchist surliness). But this works very well indeed, with the rumble in the bass and Selena’s performance giving the irritated boredom of the lyrics a dramatic desparation. Read more↴

I made a list of tracks I liked this year, and it was a bit more than 50 so I thought I’d winnow it down to 50, and then I remembered 8tracks only allows two tracks by any one artist in a mix so I had to drop a bunch of Taylor Swift and Charli XCX tracks and then there were only 49 tracks on the list. They’re organised in an order that makes some kind of vaguely coherent mix, rather than in order of how much I like them. You can listen to the whole thing as a mix above, or the individual songs through the links below.  Read more↴

  • Walmart as Utopia. Obviously there are lots of songs about conspicuous consumption, but most of them are about a fantasy level of consumption which is unattainable (probably, for the artist; certainly, for most of their audience). I think Jay-Z has actually produced the Adornian nec plus ultra of this genre with “Picasso Baby.” How do you top a song that says, “I’m so rich I can buy art, the value of which is defined precisely by its purported exclusion from the sphere of exchange-value”? But what I’m thinking of for this theme are those songs where the utopianism of consumption is placed somewhere rather more everyday: Diamond’s “Living in the Mall” is probably my favourite example, though Shampoo’s “Take a Break” kind of works too. Read more↴