There have been many months of music, film and anything else noted and not uploaded here. But when you unload those thoughts and experiences, surely best to start from the present rather than the past? Here are a selection of albums that caught the ear – or, more often in the process of discovery, the eye – over the past month or so.
Look past the losses of 2016 and what you’re left with is an otherwise stellar year for music. It speaks volumes, however, that so many of the year’s finest albums predicate on darker themes. But across albums that tackle topics as diverse as racism, sexism, age, death, tragedy, loneliness, what proves profoundly striking is the shared sense of fire, grit and perseverance that resonates through each. It has been a year in which so much of our music has dealt with despair and yet managed to deal out hope. Acceptance is perhaps the other big theme; self-acceptance, mainly. Whether it’s Angel Olsen’s defiant Woman, Chance’s celebratory Blessings, Bowie’s terminally beguiling Lazarus, or Solange’s soul-searching Cranes in the Sky. The mutual catharsis of this year’s best music seems to have given artists an urgency and vitality, a striking sense of relevance, that has allowed 2016 to become a year of music in which a Kanye West release can seem like only an afterthought.
Nick Cave is often at his most pretentious, and his most farcically overblown, when he indulges his demonic preacher alter-ego. As his croon has deepened and mellowed in his later years, he has developed a voice that is almost excessively rich in drama. His lyrics, which already walk a fine line between the poetic and the ponderously cliché, can seem exaggerated into melodramatic farce.
This, however, is a rare record where Cave truly sounds sincere. I have no doubt that his previous works have been performed with unshakeable sincerity and conviction – his passion and presence is undeniable – but here it for once sounds less like an act, a character, a stylisation. It is almost painfully real. Continue reading
Fifa is the worst yearly franchise in gaming. As an iterative series – one that should pioneer refinement over revolution – it is a near total failure. That’s not to say the games are bad, they’re usually decent, but they are so much worse than they should be after two decades in the business. Looking at the failures of the franchise, I’ll take each aspect of the most recent game in turn and discuss how EA’s series has managed to be completely stagnant but ever-changing. Continue reading
It is 5 am and I cannot sleep. I’m in an Italian hostel in Napoli and from the corner of the dorm where I fight to sleep, a choir of snores emanate from slack-jawed maws of absolute despair. Each harmonises with the other to create a perfect, relentless, tide of spirit-crushing hell. It is a living nightmare.
To the person in the furthermost corner, I apologise for including you amidst this bunch but, then again, you do snore too and it is fucking annoying. It’s unpleasant on my ears but I suppose it’s largely bearable. It pales in comparison to the pure psychological torment of your companions.
To the pair right of the corner, fuck you. I hate you. I hate you with all the hate I have to give in my lifetime. Continue reading
It took a while but, finally, I managed to churn out a Top 10 Albums list. It’s replete with pictures, over-long descriptions and opinions so wildly subjective that they throw any attempt at credibility out the window. It’s also, for a list constructed almost entirely on impulse, totally predictable. Like, just ridiculously so. I look at it and I think ‘Wow, this list could not have been more obvious’. I also got so carried away typing up stuff about each album that it became clear that doing something similar for 100 Albums or Songs would just be stupid. It would also probably result in the single longest webpage in the history of the world, and no one wants that. So, instead, here’s a Spotify playlist of my Top 500 songs. You cannot possibly imagine how difficult it was to cull those down to 100. The key? Try and make a Top 50 and you’ll inevitably pick way too many and end up with only like 10 slots to round out. Anyway, enjoy judging my music taste further. Continue reading
Frankie Plummer / @frankieplummer
When applying for accommodation I decided to only go for catered, en-suite options. This is because I can’t cook to a sufficient level to maintain normal body functions without being reliant on a combination of vitamins and a pacemaker. I would have solely eaten toast/cereal/sandwiches fried food and bought pre-made crap. I think I probably would have died or had long-term organ complications resulting from Doritos abuse. Continue reading