The febrile branches of the nearby trees sway in chaotic unison to the rhythm of the roaring wind and the driving rain. Alone on my Island I trace the word; ‘eternity’; over and over with the ball of my foot. Oh blessed rain, for too long have you pounded me, an insect, into the dust of your cruel heart yes, it is I, Rich Shapero and I am drowning; drowning in a million way, falling like rain as the sea overfills my crude nest and engulfs me in one, long, gasp. ‘Deliver me’ I cry and lo I am delivered. Delivered into the waiting arms, so weightlessly strong, so transcendently there. The Polyps arms. The stream, the stream, the mainstream overwhelms me and I fold quietly away
J Cole – Middle Child
Ah, so I need to tread carefully here. It’s all too easy to write off something you don’t fully understand as rubbish just ‘cause you don’t fully understand it, and I don’t want to fall into that trap. So what do we know? Well, on the plus size the lyrics are pretty good; they’re certainly about something even if it’s mainly what old ‘J’ doesn’t do’ cause, like, only idiots do those things. You have to wonder how many times these guys can write ‘mission statement’ songs – I’m this, I do this, I don’t like this, I don’t do this – perhaps it something that needs to be restated for fear it will ‘go off’ or something. On the doubleplusgood side ‘J’ is beefing with Kanye, (oh, sorry, ‘Ye’) which shows he at least has taste but doubleplusungood he’s mates with Drake, the harbinger of the end times. My suspicion is that anyone involved in click baity, TMZ ‘beefs’ is deeply suspect, but ‘J’ does count that as one of the things he doesn’t do. The songs closing message of money and guns don’t ‘make you real’ is a little undermined by the opening lines – ‘I’m counting my bullets, I’m loading my clips’ (wink-wink) and there’s loose talk about ‘mils’ he’s got so again, who knows. I think if you like this sort of thing, you’ll like it.
Lady Ga Ga, Bradley Cooper – Shallow (A star is born)
My big fear before hearing this was that I’d really like it, given the heaps of positive press the film and the music have garnered recently, but I shouldn’t have worried because it’s pretty much what I expected to be honest. It was weird watching the video and seeing Lady Ga Ga’s face, for the first time I think, without some crazy makeup or a ludicrous hat obscuring her features. I’m sure the song has more impact if you’re watching the film, but while the song is not bad per se it’s emotion by numbers, so much blah. Why do they sing ‘shallow’ in such a weird way? It’s as if they couldn’t decide where to put the syllables. Seriously, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I can’t wait for A Star is Born 2 where Ga Ga gets to wear her meat dress as a symbol of all that’s wrong with popular culture. Just a thought.
George Ezra – Hold My Girl
Ugh. So, apparently George took the money he got from his inexplicably successful first album and fucked off to Spain for a bit to write his second. The result? As bland a record as you’d care to point to, which is hardly surprising as you’re not gonna be chafing at the state of the world while living in luxury in the sun. I feel sorry for the crew who put the video together, all their hard work wasted on this song. Basically Ezras room starts filling with water as he sings the song. Symbolism? I guess he’s drowning in his room and regrets not holding ‘his girl’ more often? There’s a great moment where there’s a shot of an electric lamp, clearly about to fall into the water and you think, wow, this is about to take an unexpected turn. But it doesn’t. It just doesn’t.
The petals open and I am shot far into the starry deep, a shooting star cleansed of all defilement. What strange country will greet me when I fall, which I surely will. For now, the clouds are my shroud and bedchamber. I rest.