Really Good Buddy presents Jewels for Teddy
Teddy, my dude, it is not uncommon that as I listen to new music I wonder to myself whether or not you would like it. I’ve been getting deep into the weird new frontiers of pop and R&B and here I most often wonder to myself if you would like this stuff. A couple of these songs are oldies, a couple of them I just recently started listening to, a couple of them have been stand bys for the last 12-14 months. I don’t know if you will hate these or love them or a bit of both but I’m excited to hear what you think.
Notes: I’ve fallen in love with exaggerated flamboyant unafraid-to-flex voices over the last four years. I think my favourite singer is Antony Hagerty. Singers like James Blake and Blood Orange fit this mould as well. Most of the singers on this mix do. They are unabashed when they rip out wild runs and emote with an oozing blend of sincerity and self-awareness. A lot of this vocal profile shows up in this mix and generally characterizes the new wave of R&B taking off from 90’s influence and at this point even beginning to revisit early 2000s themes in a way that is as ironic as it is sincere.
I have also fallen head over heels in the last four years for stripped down electronics with lots of white space and heavily melodic character. The cornerstone of these instrumentals is a certain bass sensibility. For example, listen to the playful sparsity of the bass in Inc.’s The Place with its step back rhythm. It draws me in, makes me dance in a way that would look buffoonish or insincere to bystanders but is in fact all too genuine. The little riffy bass guitar flourishes just give the track a corny jazziness that actually makes for a huge compliment to the sparsity and succinctness of the samples they use for percussion. These comments apply equally well to that Blood Orange joint and several other jams on this mix.
I am a sucker for this new auto tuning and vocal pitch shifting direction that these new weirdo-pop practitioners have taken to. There is something markedly post-modern about it, a blending of computer and human, a blurring of the subject, that feels all too astute and reflective of lived realities. Which leads me to comment on PC Music:
PC Music is this British label putting out a distinct brand of what I would call hyper pop. I’ve placed three of my favourites on here—Hannah Diamond, QT (actually a guy named Sophie, this song is supposed to also be an energy drink and its own artist, pretty fucking brilliant and telling), and Danny L Harle. I think you will hate this music, but I am curious to see what you make of it. Personally, their elementary melodies and near childish spoofs on electronic pop seem so fitting for our historic and cultural moment. I think the reason it feels so good to listen to PC Music is not simply because it is juvenile and rudimentary, and embracingly so, but because it is so symptomatic of the impending pointlessness of commodified art. it is enjoyable because, in its mocking pastiche, it actually reflects reality in that it is a true representation of a society where art can be perfectly meaningless and embrace its fully artificial (no pun intended) incarnation without reproach from the tastemakers of the day (looking at you pitchfork haha). It is the congruity of this computerized inanity with our cultural moment that actually makes it enjoyable for being so honest. That being honest means being artificial is a sad diagnosis but, imho, tis accurate.
Which leads me to the song I most struggled over whether to leave or excise from the mix, the k-pop joint “Shadow” by f(x). K-Pop is a function of this same commodification, but is nevertheless surprisingly complex. It is all bubblegum, no doubt, and extremely manufactured for a highly studied and targeted market, but it still employs complex techniques, mingling aspects and hallmarks from genres the world over. This song specifically is full of sevenths and progressions fit for a jazz record with notes that fall out of pitch, or step into a scale you would never expect to hear in a ‘pop’ song. Nevertheless, it is so thoroughly insincere I wonder if you would hate it. To this day I have not found the skeleton key to what makes a song or album or artist likeable to your nuanced taste, Teddy. At least to me, your taste in music is as miraculously complex as Liam’s or Doug’s, another two people I often ponder and project the opinions of when listening to this puzzling thing we call ‘music’.
I have gone on too long. I am rambling. I simply must visit you soon so I can enjoy these conversations with your interlocution and without the darkness of this carpal tunnel. A few closing comments:
That Bjork song entered my life again out of nowhere and has been my going to sleep song for a solid three months now. Perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I often wonder if you would like it. The Jai Paul track is a perennial classic for me. I return to it every few weeks and just put it on repeat for a few hours. The minimalism of the production, the touch and go of the volume fluctuations, its like tender acupuncture. It is a good reset when you are bored of everything you are listening to. The Born Gold song was one of my favourites during my last semester. It still reminds me of studying. Yumi Zouma and Connan Mockasin are both from New Zealand. There must be something in the water there because a lot of incredible tracks have been popping up from that way.
Riding shotgun in the Jag or the Lex, your old boy, Joey.
- jAgOrThElEx 0:06
- Blood Orange - Chamakay 4:20
- Inc. - The Place 3:41
- Jai Paul - Jasmine 4:14
- Ang Low - Life Goes Down 3:01
- AlunaGeorge - Your Drums, Your Love 3:39
- La Roux - Cruel Sexuality 4:15
- Kelela - Guns & Synths (Prod. Bok Bok) 2:56
- Jessie Ware - Devotion 3:22
- Braids - Hossak 3:16
- Austra - Home 4:16
- Bjork - Unison 6:46
- James Blake - Overgrown 5:01
- Born Gold - Lethe 3:19
- Connan Mockasin - I’m The Man, That Will Find You 5:02
- Hannah Diamond - Pink and Blue 2:53
- QT - Hey QT 3:56
- Danny L Harle - Broken Flowers 5:07
- f(x) - 미행 (그림자: Shadow) 3:32
- Yumi Zouma - The Brae 4:16
- rAgStOrIcHeS 0:05