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By The Numbers: Ageism In Hip-Hop Doesn't Exist

The argument that rappers must lose relevance after a certain age is as old as hip-hop itself, and artists like Rakim, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, M...

Top 50 Albums of 2012: 2nd and 1st

2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE)

The first I heard of this record was when Twitter exploded one night in July. Channel Orange became the top trending topic for more than a few hours, which generally means something serious is going on. Further investigation on my part revealed it was an album by Frank Ocean, who's mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra never had me engrossed. May as well give it a go though, everyone was gushing about it.  With good reason..

At the time I was in a job where I sat in a car for eight hours a day. It was a tedious nightmare, made worse by my lack of sleep at the time. I was using that eight hours a day to consume a huge amount of new music, so much so that I'd worn myself out. I'd tired of it, and was spending my days listening to horrid radio programming and dreaming of ways to permanently silence radio marketing. So I popped in Frank Ocean. First reaction? Visualise that moment when, after a hard weeks work, whatever it is you do, you finally, on Friday afternoon, get to sit down on the couch, with a beer, and turn off. When Thinkin Bout You started playing, I experienced that ten-fold. 

It's not just that it is such a refreshing change from the pop quagmire today's artist seem intent on prolonging. It's not even THAT different from a multitude of R&B releases from the past few years. It just stood out as the most complex set of songs I'd heard in a long time. A record that had been expertly composed. Each song felt new and exciting, yet remained loyal to this indefinable Ocean sound. The strings at the top of Thinkin Bout You give way beautifully to a strong beat with a tide-pool feeling synth backing, it sways and swells as Ocean's honey-drenched voice slips in to evening mode and caresses your ear. Sweet Life begins with a lovely piano-bar riff that drives a simple bass line that bursts in to life with the chorus, evoking images of Ocean fronting a grizzled and experienced jazz band at your favourite night spot on a Friday evening after work. Vibing out. The entire record seems malleable, mouldable, it can be bent around whatever mood you're in. It's not one-dimensional, and you experience new emotions and find hidden jewels everytime you spin it. The variety doesn't make for a sloppy listen, Ocean ties it all together away from our consciousness. 

The standout track, of the album and the year, is Pyramids. My description of it from my original review still feels right, so I shall cut and paste it.  

The top track on the album must be the pulsing, living, breathing Pyramids, nearly 10 minutes of electronic brilliance that allows Ocean his most sporadic and strain of conscious thought moment on the record. It's one of those epics that great artists don't set out to create, but create in the process of allowing their mind free reign. It jumps, only a little sloppily, from ancient Egpytian Cleopatra to Ocean's modern day interpretation through the line 'Big sun coming strong through the motel blinds / Wake up to your girl for now, let's call her Cleopatra'. Thankfully the sound evolves more naturally, Ocean lays the groundwork for a pulsing synth beat to take over in the middle and then recede and give way to a slippery interlude that bursts back in to life with a drum-machine loop that allows Ocean the perfect canvas to detail the story of our modern day Cleopatra , his less than illustrious mate for the night, 'Pimping in my convos / Bubbles in my champagne / Let it be some jazz playing' gives way to 'But I'm still unemployed / You say it's big but you take it / Ride cowgirl / But your love ain't free no more', over the course of the 10 minutes we see Ocean slowly descending back in to reality until the final line slaps him in the face. It's a wonderful track.

I'm not surprised to see Channel Orange on many 'overrated' lists. The hype surrounding it was incredible. What I will say, and something I have observed with said hype, is that it grew from the day the album was released. Before July, there weren't many people talking about Frank Ocean. SPIN did a piece on him, and he refused to be interviewed by them because they wouldn't put him on the cover. Instead, Garbage led that issue. Given their chance again, do you really think they'd make the same decision? The hype was justified because this is a brilliant record. 10/10. Thank you Frank.


1. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city (Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city)

Lamar is a curious fellow. He resides within the Black Hippy movement formed in 2009 in California, a movement that is made up of even more curious fellows. A movement generally has a centralised sound, a touching point that each artist can refer to if they feel they are drifting off track. Kendrick Lamar stands out from his contemporaries, starkly. He employs this spacey, melodic delivery, that in a second can be replaced with a growl of aggression and a quickening of pace. It allows him to talk tough, so to speak, without inducing laughter. For example, imagine The-Dream writing an aggressive gang-focused record. Yeah.

It means that Lamar is a master of manipulation. It also means good kid, m.A.A.d city is the best album of 2012, and a rap record of the absolute highest quality.

good kid, m.A.A.d city feels like a day in Lamar's life, but not just a standard tuesday or an exciting friday. It feels like THE day in his life, the one we all have that is filled with events we thought we could control but we can’t, prompting introspection and re-evaluation of goals and life paths. The day where a certain chain of events stimulates a focused train of thought that then entwines itself with everything you do. This day houses the pivotal moment we’ve all been hit by, out of the blue. You stop and take notice. You observe and comment on rather than coasting through with no intellectual deliberation.

It’s a flawed record, no doubt about that. Viewed as a stand-alone project, if you were to encounter each track individually, I think you might lump it in with every other nearly there rap record, that has 4 or 5 really good songs, 1 or 2 passable songs, and the rest is filler. But when approached as a project it hits you in a complete way.

Maybe it is the interludes with his parents. His father’s unexpected and poignant life lesson. His mother’s entirely relatable progression from annoyed and frustrated mum to slightly more concerned to almost despairing. The humourous narrative that these two play at through the first two encounters with them that makes them instantly accessible as real human beings rather than made up fantasy characters.

Maybe it is Kendricks brutal honesty, his ability to be completely caught up in the moment of something but to provide such a depth in his commentary that each minute in his life feels like 10 minutes of music and dissection. At times he draws you in and takes you with him. The Art of Peer Pressure is a simple narrative, a first person account of an action-packed activity. The complexity lies within Lamar's ability to transport you right in to that car with him, sitting next to him. Standing behind him as he participates in a robbery. You can feel his sweat as the police pull in behind them.

There are times when he expresses his fears and concerns in such a way it is no stretch of imagination to put yourself firmly in his shoes, experience his paranoia and his prevailing attitudes towards himself and his surroundings. Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst is a brilliant strain of conscious thought in which Lamar walks us through his fears of being a nobody, not making it out of the ghetto, the struggles of people living in desperation, the consuming fear of death, and trying to deal with the loss of family members.

These moments of insight are punctuated by more contemporary, mainstream hip hop moments. Backseat Freestyle see's Lamar on his punchline game, 'I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower /
So I can fuck the world for 72 hours'. m.A.A.d city allows him to stretch his legs over some traditional Southern production from Sounwave and THC, and Poetic Justice has him trading verses with Drake, who promptly copies his flow and hops back on his misogynistic crusade. His gift for hooks keep the album flowing beautifully through these moments. Whilst they aren't contributing directly to the narrative, they provide momentary relief, you are able to relax and be entertained.

Real is the best track. You feel as though you've woken up with Lamar and shadowed him as he experiences the most important day of his life. By the time Real begins, he is lost, his location is unknown, his mind is blown and he has reached a point where he sits down and starts turning things over in his mind.

'But what love got to do with it when I don't love myself
To the point I should hate everything I do love
Should I hate living my life inside the club
Should I hate her for watching me for that reason
Should I hate him for telling me that I'm season
Should I hate them for telling me ball out
Should I hate street credibility I'm talkin' about
Hatin' all money, power, respect in my will
Or hating the fact none of that shit make me real'

We then hear the voices of his two parents, both sobered by worry, delivering their own pearls of wisdom. His father tells him in order to be real he needs god, responsibility, and he needs to take care of his family. His mother's words induce goose bumps. She sounds despairing, worried and scared like any mother would. She pleads with him to come back, that there is positives in his story, that he is real if he returns. 

You find yourself hoping Lamar finds his way back to his parents, you hope he is unharmed and unhurt. His subtle classic reveals itself to you, how deeply you've been drawn in to this snapshot of his life. Absolutely amazing.

Top 50 Albums of 2012: 5 - 3

5. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (alt-J (∆) – An Awesome Wave)

There is an award in the United Kingdom called the Mercury Prize. For the last 20 years it has been awarded annually to the best album to come from the UK, and for the last 20 years it's been pretty much spot on. Elbow has won it, The xx has won it, Portishead and PJ Harvey. Lusty company. In 2012, Alt-J have won it for their brilliant genre-defying debut, An Awesome Wave. 

It's a curious record, in that it seems to provoke widely varying reactions. Some (like myself) adore it. Personally, it is the freshest album I have heard in years. It immediately crawls under your skin and settles there, pleasantly vibrating through your body.
Some resent the 'new Radiohead' tag that the band has acquired, and find it hard to believe (or even stand) the hype. Others even claim pretention at the heart of the band's motives. In the critiquing community, pretention is akin to polygamy. It isn't well recieved.

I find such accusations perplexing. Yes, it is true that Alt-J took a significant amount of time to craft it. 5 years apparently. Yes, it is catchy. It blurs the lines between Elbow-like levels of alternative and Gaga-induced pop. And yes, the interview everyone has been quoting from is no misprint. Alt-J did say “We don’t try to go out of the box or be innovative. We just try to play music we like to hear.”. Somehow, though, they've created one of the most innovative records of the year.. 

If catchy can be understated, it is in this case. Think Carly Rae Jepsen levels. Even the Intro makes its mark. A simple piano riff bleeds in to an instant melody, conjured as if from nowhere. A thundering bass groove pops up as Joe Newman begins his album-long stretch of confusing, at times incomprehensible lyrics. Interlude I actually shines a bright light on exactly what role the vocals play. If viewed solely as an instrument in its most basic form, they support the music, create melody and serve to enrich the overall sound. Lyrical content is inconsequential, you won't be reading the linear notes in the hope to uncover some great meaning. Apparently there are litertary references littered all over. There are enough genre hops here to attract your attention away from the lyrics. The vast array employed includes but is not limited to jazz, electronic, psychadelic rock, folk, alternative, pop, alt-pop, downtempo, post-rock.. Well. You get the idea. 

The striking thing about An Awesome Wave is the way the album is delivered. It feels brilliantly put together, tight. You don't take a breath until track 5, a short acoustic piece. The entire thing flows brilliantly. There are 3 separate structure changes in the first track alone, and yet for the first 4 songs it's difficult to pick when the track changes. As the album progresses, the interludes become a key space. They don't denote any major changes or any new directions, they provide a relief point, they snap you out of your calmed haze and jolt you back in to reality. It's not conformity or repetition induced, believe me. Something Good sounds like a futuristic country track, and it gives way to Dissolve Me which could just as easily be played at your local nightclub at 2am. Then Matilda, a lovely ballad of acoustics and vocals punctuated by this half-frenetic drum sound that becomes a trademark of their sound. 

There hasn't been a better put together pop album this year. It took them 5 years to create, I am not surprised. That's how complex it is.

4. 2 Chainz -   Based On A T.R.U. Story (2 Chainz – Based On A T.R.U. Story)

Yeah I said it. 2 Chainz released the 4th best album of 2012. I do not fear the retribution I shall recieve, because this is a genuinely good hip hop record. I didn't think I'd like it, I thought it'd be a boring, mixtape-ish record somewhere in the vicinity of Meek Mill's debut. Yet 2 Chainz always possessed this weird charm. With his slightly off centre flow, his clear energy over the top of any beat, and his Southern accent, he has definitely given a good account of himself since switching monikers from the slightly crass Tity Boi. 

In the last 2 years he has spread himself across so many different tracks it makes Lil Wayne look lazy. Guest appearances on tracks with Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, Juicy J, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill, French Montana, Rick Ross, E-40, Game, Akon, Jadakiss and Styles P, Nicki Minaj, and Common just to name a few highlight this machine gun attitude to rap music. Just start spraying guest verses all over the place and hope one takes. His appearances on E-40 records and the Minaj track Beez In The Trap showcased a rapper whose excitement and scattered delivery more than makes up for a lack of lyrical dexterity. Only slightly more than a punch line rapper, B.O.A.T.S. was always going to be a tough proving ground. He had the co-signs, he had the label, he had the star-studded production, could he deliver an entire album of consistency?

 Yes. It was the most entertaining record of the year. Starting off with the Wayne-infused 'Yuck', and firing all the way down to the Mike Will laced Wut We Doin?, the perfect Southern rap anthem, Chainz keeps the promise he made with all those guest appearances. Funny, cringe-worthy, thought-provoking, his lyrics were not the minutes of a mensa meeting but they more than kept the attention of the listener. 'Trigga finger itchin' like it's poison ivy / Going so hard Viagra trying to sign me'. His exchange with himself at the end of his second verse on Yuck is just funny. 'I'm so dope you could catch a fucking contact'. The whole release is littered with lines like these. The factor that elevates B.O.A.T.S. over other records who provide a similar spread of punch lines is Chainz enthusiasm, his ability on the beat. He keeps your attention even when he is saying absolutely nothing of any substance. At the end of No Lie he explains '2Pac without a nose ring / Thug Life, one wife, a mistress and a girlfriend / I did what they say I wouldn’t / Went where they say I couldn’t'. 1 million and ten other rappers have delivered the same type of line. None with the aggression that Chainz brings. It is an endearing quality, unquotable lines stick in your head until you know the words to every song. It's an astonishing ability.

Of course, having such a star-studded line up of producers and guests helps immensely. Drake kills Chainz on No Lie, Wayne provides the best hook of the year on Yuck, and Kanye West conjures the best verse he's laid down since somewhere in the middle of his last album on Birthday Song. The-Dream drops by for a production credit, as does the evergreen Bangladesh and StreetRunner. It's a big album, similar scope to a Rick Ross release. Laced with money and shrewdly put together. Yet it just feels FUN. It's entertainment, it's a guilty pleasure. For some reason I couldn't stop coming back to this. I stopped fighting it and spun it an insane amount of times. It still feels fresh.

3. Hot Chip - In Our Heads (Hot Chip – In Our Heads)

It is the consummate Hot Chip record. A band with a rare gift for melody, a clear talent at arranging electronic music and a front man who's lyrics were simple observations of life, Hot Chip always produced great music. Before this record, I felt that once they made the switch to up-tempo, dancey nerd electronica they shifted in to top gear, and happily stayed there through The Warning, Made In The Dark and One Life Stand. What In Our Heads did was prove that they had another level, they weren't running at full capacity. There is a sense of occasion that is maintained for the entirety. This is a special record.

The place to start may actually be the final track. The one weakness Hot Chip had was Alexis Taylor's slightly annoying penchant for the ballad. He spread them liberally across their last 2 records, Made In The Dark and One Life Stand, and frankly they were buzz-killers. Whilst Taylor's lyrics were strong and his themes relatable, the execution was off. They felt like asides, they took away from the energy and flow of the record. On In Our Heads, finally, Hot Chip have perfected an imperfect formula. Whether it has to do with Taylor stretching his musical legs away from the band or just a lucky strike, each slower song on the record is brilliant. The weakness has become a strength.

The album itself is a funk-infused, synth pop 80's throwback of the greatest kind. As others start loading their music up with more and more layers of synth noise, Hot Chip strip their sound back slightly. How Do You Do? introduces the simplest of bass and drum combinations, relying heavily on Taylor's lead vocal performance. These Chains has an energetic, breathless quality about it, and it begins a 3 track stretch of drum induced head banging, ending with the slow burner Flutes which has a similar structure to No Fit State, the best track off of The Warning. The final half of the album is actually the stronger. Ends of the Earth employ Calvin Harris levels of pop integrity to create another Taylor gem about the push and pull nature of love, the true nature of desire. Let Me Be Him is the crowning achievement, the ballad perfected. Joe Goddard delivers a hazy plea of longing, his voice drifts placidly along the surprisingly calm background music, which enlists the help of some natural sounding bird chirps to ensure the listener is planted entirely in this peaceful backdrop. 

Whilst Taylors intentions have always been to observe and comment on the nature of love and deliver his unabashed experiences with it, In Our Heads does not sound like a devotion to the emotion. In Our Heads is in the business of cheap, accessible thrills. It is fun, colourful, instantly relatable, yet there exists another level on which to connect with it. Tracks like Now There Is Nothing, Let Me Be Him, Always Been Your Love, they were the skippable ballads from records past. It would be easy to say all Taylor and Goddard have done is dress these songs in a new frock, but the truth lies much deeper. They're composed these complex songs, they've effected a tear-down and re-build of the sound. The result is an astonishingly, surprisingly great record.

Top 50 of 2012: 10 - 6

10. Lil Wayne - Dedication 4 (http://www.datpiff.com/Lil-Wayne-Dedication-4-mixtape.385544.html)

So hotly anticipated. The fourth installment in Wayne and Drama's wonderful Dedication series. The world wanted to know if Weezy had slipped further down his drug-induced path that The Carter IV had laid out, or if he'd tightened up and returned to his pre-Carter III levels of dominance. The result? Dedication 4 saw Wayne doing what he does best: spazzing out on hot beats. He can't claim to have out-performed too many of the original artists (except Meek Mill and Rick Ross), but D4 was a brilliant return to form. Cut free from the confines of a feature album release, he didn't bother with any concepts or extraneous themes. It was women, drugs, and money. Lyrically he was insightful, deadly and comedic. It was the perfect Wayne release, packed to the brim of quotables. 

'You a dyke cause your man a pussy', 'I would talk about my dick, but man that shit be a long story',
 'I got those yellow Xanax, I slipped on a banana peel', 'All my n**** wanna fuck, and she gon let us like a salad bar' 'Got two bitches off Twitter, tweedle dee and tweedle dum', 'She so sophisticated, she gon catch a n*** nut and then refrigerate it', 'I'm gettin higher than Quasars'. But my personal favourite, 'She said sorry I didn't shave, so that pussy is a little furry, I put that pussy in my face, I ain't got no worries'. 

It's become quite trendy within the hip hop community to discard Weezy as a drug-fucked has-been. A lot of people even claim they never liked him. However everyone still listens to whatever he puts out religiously, Dedication 4 has over 1 million downloads on Datpiff.com. His music is entertainment. Hip Hop exists to serve an uncountable number of ends, but if you create it with the intention of entertaining your audience, you will succeed commercially. Critically, releases like this are usually judged quite harshly. You're not going to have too many epiphany's listening to this. But you will have a ridiculous amount of fun, and you will keep coming back for more. Just don't tell anyone..
Best Tracks: No Worries, Green Ranger


9. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-up (Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The Re-Up)

There have been a number of female rappers over the years. Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Foxy Brown, Lady Sovereign. All of them experienced brief spells in the limelight, but eventually faded. Minaj immediately appears different. Firstly, she is an insanely talented emcee. On her debut record she spat opposite Eminem and held her own, which is more than can be said for Game, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and a host of other rappers. On Kanye's Monster she out-rapped anyone on the entire album in one verse. But for some reason, female emcees have short-lived fame. Female pop stars, on the other hand, endure, and manage stratospheric levels of commercial success. So on Pink Friday first and now on Roman Reloaded, Nicki Minaj plays both roles. 

The first 7 tracks are pure-bred hip hop, and they are insane. Come On A Cone has Minaj destroying her competition. On I Am Your Leader she kills Cam'Ron and Rick Ross, 'Now I'm in the hood, niggas is getting woodies / Hit up hot topic, Nicki Minaj hoodies / I'm a brand, bitch, I'm a brand'. On Champion she even gives Nas a run for his money. It's some of the hardest hip hop you'll experience, and it's being delivered by a voluptuous woman with pink hair who is a judge on American Idol.. 

Then, she switches it up. The genius. Not only is she an insanely good emcee, she can sing, and manages to create some ridiculously catchy pop music. By the time we hit track 10, Starships, she's in full popstar mode. The transformation is brilliant. Starships goes triple platinum, Pound The Alarm goes double platinum. It is so successful she re-packages it with 8 more hip hop songs which only serves to increase her stranglehold on the Queen Of Rap title. The result? The perfect package. If you hate hip hop, skip the first 7 tracks and let Nicki and RedOne (producer) entertain your pop leanings. If you hate pop music, put the first 7 tracks and all of CD 2 on repeat. Forever. You won't get tired of this. 
Best Tracks: Come On A Cone, Starships, Beez In The Trap, High School


8.   Fennesz - Aun (Fennesz – AUN)
  
Reviewers love when Christian Fennesz creates new music, because it allows them to bombard you with the litany of descriptive words they learnt in their first year creative writing subject at university. And whilst I don't usually endorse this method of reviewing, when it comes to Fennesz it's impossible to resist grabbing a thesaurus and poring through it trying to find the words to describe the beauty he creates. 

AUN is a soundtrack to a film that bears the same title, described as 'The Beginning and the End of All Things'. Fennesz manages to create music that doesn't rely on the visual stimulus of the film to evoke emotions in the listener. It's a difficult balance. If he creates a record that is too dense, too complex on its own, it draws focus away from the film. If he relies too heavily on the film to provide depth and meaning in the music, the soundtrack will not work as a standalone project. Whilst I don't believe he wrote these songs with the intention of creating a widely purchased soundtrack, the inclusion of 3 tracks from his collaboration with Sakamoto (Cendre) proves this is something more substantial than background music.

The music is deep, dark. Rarely does Fennesz allow you a glimpse of light. Sakamoto's piano delivers fleeting moments of positivity. However even on Trace when the piano makes a much needed appearance, it only serves to create tension and doubt. But this at times overwhelming feeling of trepidation, doom, darkness is what makies it an amazing listen. The music envelops you. It brings to mind a person drowning, trapped beneath the waves, light diminishing with every stroke. It deprives you of your other senses, it fills your mind. It is an experience not to be entered in to lightly, do not underestimate the power of what Fennesz is delivering.
Best Tracks: AUN40, Trace


7. Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory (Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory)

The opening 11 seconds of this record is the most misleading piece of music ever released.  A delicate piano riff, joined by a quiet guitar, do absolutely nothing to prepare you for the sensory explosion you're about to experience. The bass then kicks in, and the tone is identified. This is grungy, punky, aggressive angst. It's about 22 different bands, all honed to their base elements and powered through the speakers at you by Dylan Baldi. His brutally raw emotion doesn't just tinge his performance, it defines it. He doesn't sound mopey, he isn't sulking. He sounds angry. This energy just propels Attack On Memory in to another dimension, something that hasn't been touched in well over a decade and a half.

Attack On Memory comes from nowhere and it has struck the critical equivalent of oil. Previous Cloud Nothings releases were 'pop' excursions. Indie pop. The type of music The Rifles made, or any number of British alternative bands from the turn of the millenium. They weren't bad, they were just a tad dull. A bit straight laced. Fall In is a carry-over track from those days. Quite upbeat, Baldi mutes that desperate tone that appears in his voice on his heavier music. You think Stay Useless is going to pan out in a similar fashion, until the chorus hits you in the face, he wails 'I need time to stop moving, I need time to stay useless'. By the time No Sentiment beings Baldi is assuredly engrossed with his inner demons, demons that seem to have this need to escape him in any way they can. The music gets louder, less melodic, Baldi starts wailing again. The effect is mesmerising.

It feels natural to compare it to Nirvana, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, only because the whole record feels so natural. Baldi doesn't bother with tidying up his lyrics, applying a thesaurus to them. You almost get the feeling the music starts and he just begins wailing, no intentions or preconceptions, about whatever is on his mind at the time. One minute he is trotting out the 90s punk company line, 'No nostalgia / And no sentiment / We're over it now / And we were over it then', the next he's detailing the insecurities of an unhealthy relationship drama, 'Do you feel safe with him?
Does he give you everything? Is he gonna work out?'. Of all the punk and grunge music to be


6. Beach House - Bloom (Beach House – Bloom)

Beach House reside in that special corner of consciousness also inhabited by Sigur Ros. It’s the moment after you’ve gone to bed, before you fall asleep, when you are still awake but already beginning a dream. A lucid reality of pure relaxation. Sigur Ros have been doing it perfectly for years. Beach House had the ability, the potential to make an album full of this feeling. Bloom is that record. A wonderful event, when a band reaches their full potential and creates a classic album.

Myth starts off with a cowbell I could’ve created in Fruity Loops, but then just explodes. All of a sudden you’re still here but you’re not anymore, you’re in this giant green field that Beach House have created exclusively for its listeners. Valium, Xanax, all manner of anti-anxiety medications are available in plentiful amounts. The smokey vocals of Victoria Legrand don’t even need to be intelligible, it’s like this beautiful warm cloud descending over the field. The vocals just become one of the instruments, another tool used to create clouds, big fluffy pillows for you mind to flop down on to and relax.

My mother said to me that I would in trouble
Our father won’t come home, cause he is seeing double


What comes after this
Momentary bliss
The consequence
Of what you do to me

It’d deeper than you and me, It’s further than you could see, It’s too much to ask tell me, It’s all in a glance you’ll see.

If you feel the need, or you're in a particularly anxious mood, interact with the lyrics. Legrand writes love songs, she paints pictures of anxious, frightened moments. She explains the problem and in an instant provides the cure. This weird juxtaposition develops, where the music is calm, as inviting as a quick swim at an unknown beach in the middle of summer. Once you dive in, the rip catches you, it drags your mind in to the depths. Beach House never let you struggle long before they throw you a rope, and you're safely in their arms again.

Beach House have harnessed this wonderful ability that electronic music has to very quickly create an atmosphere and an alternate reality and then transport you there and keep you there for an entire record. The big cymbals crashing at the end of Irene even give you the sense that you’ve achieved something during this listen, and that it’s all about to come to a stark end and you’ll be catapulted back in to real life. The beauty of it is, you just double click on Myth and you’re right back where you started.

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