Day 17 - Popjustice Advent Calendar 2017 | Page 16 | The Popjustice Forum
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Day 17 - Popjustice Advent Calendar 2017

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by NecessaryVoodoo, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. So I toyed with the idea of having the review follow the comic book, but ultimately I decided against it. Here are some screenshots of the comic book corresponding to the different songs. Occasionally there are bits of dialog in the comic book that are also part of the song lyrics, but most of the language in each is mutually exclusive. I'm putting them under spoiler tags since they're pretty spoilery.

    01 Intro

    02 Skydiving
    (That's Priest, the first person En is in a relationship with.)

    03 Until the Light

    04 Savage

    05 New Fears
    (The spirit form of Mitsuki visits En while she's having an out-of-body experience.)

    06 Morphine
    (En meets Mitsuki in her waking life, and they become lovers.)

    07 We Were Here

    08 Kicks

    09 Giants

    10 Moonshine

    (I'm not screenshotting "Interlude" because it's very spoilery to the plot. The final two songs - "Fight Club" and "Almost Had Me" are covered in the final installment of the comic, which will be released in mid-December.)
    soratami, Diet Pop!, DJHazey and 5 others like this.
  2. Two albums that hadn't even crossed my radar over the past two days.. The reviews have placed them at the top of my to-listen list.
    Well Done Guys, mine already feels inadequate.
    Mina likes this.
  3. OMG! This is amazing.
    londonrain and Mina like this.
  4. Fascinating storyline with the comics and incredible review, that's all I can say, there are no other words @Mina.
    londonrain and Mina like this.
  5. Today's review comes courtesy of my fave Hipsterjustice hobbit, also repping one of my favourite albums of the year:

    December 4th
    St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
    Reviewed by @constantino


    Like many of you, I was SPOILT for choice (spoilt, I tell you!) but ultimately it became a case of picking the album I had the most to say about, and Masseduction means a lot to me as a project, as does Annie Clark in general. Now that I think about it, I’ve had a St. Vincent album to see me through every big new stage of my life; Actor came out just before I started secondary school (that’s middle school, for the Americunties), Strange Mercy got me through puberty, St. Vincent came out around the time I was discovering ~who I am~ at the age of 15 (also the year I joined the forum, funnily enough) and now, coming into adulthood, I have Masseduction...which is apt, in many ways. As one of the more recent additions to my favourite albums of the year list, I haven’t had much time to process or edit my thoughts on this, but I’ve been listening to it non-stop since it came out in October, and I have to write about it for my upcoming rate anyway ([insert relevant plug depending on when this review is published]), so why the hell not? I hope y’all enjoy word vomit because she’s had 5 jagerbombs and she’s ready to CHUNDER, hunty.

    Without a doubt, Masseduction is Annie’s most polished album to date; everything about the campaign from the music videos, the album visuals (yes, even the cover) and the promo imagery as well as the production and vocal mixing feel more refined and expensive than ever before. This was all to be expected (sis is a Grammy winner now, don’t ya know?), but what took me by surprise when first delving into this album was how this is also her darkest project to date. The three pre-released tracks ‘New York’, ‘Los Ageless’ (NOT ‘Los Angeles’) and ‘Pills’ all had a certain lightness and tongue-and-cheek feel to them (mainly the latter two), which I thought would carry throughout the album but oh, how wrong I was. Nah, this is some dark shit, to the point where I’m not sure I could handle it being any longer than 39 minutes by the time the double punch of Slow Disco and Smoking Section roll along.

    From a purely sonic perspective, the sequencing of the album fascinates me more than any other release this year. Masseduction is defined by its sonic peaks and troughs; the measured and stoic approach taken in the opening track ‘Hang On Me’ then thrusts you into a run of the album’s biggest bops, followed by the beautiful and tragic ‘Happy Birthday, Johnny’, onto more bops in the form of the explosive ‘Young Lover’ and hook-laided ‘Savior’...only for it to come crashing down with the devastating closing tracks. If the bondage-inspired visuals didn’t tell you already, Annie is a dom top and she wants us all to suffer. That said, she’s still a giver at the end of the day, giving us all a cheeky reach-around every now and then to keep us satisfied - moments such as the melody from Los Ageless popping up during ‘Sugarboy’ and her orgasmic whistle note towards the climax of Young Lover. Annie truly snapped’t. Wig flew to Asia, etc.

    So yeah, this album is a trip and a half. Two things remain constant throughout, though - the melodies and insane and wonderful, and the lyrics remain depressing as fuck no matter how catchy the track is. When Annie isn’t talking about addiction and manic lifestyle habits (Pills, Los Ageless), she’s singing about emotional abusive relationships (Savior, Happy Birthday, Johnny, Sugarboy), oh, and death (Slow Disco, Smoking Section), can’t forget about the inevitability of death (thanks, sis)! Funnily enough, the most uplifting and reaffirming moment to be found on this bleak-ass record is New York, which after being just ‘okay’ to me at first, took on a whole new life within the context of the album. It’s pure? Sonically it harks to the show tunes sounds that she toyed with on the self-titled, mainly the wonderful ‘Severed Crossed Fingers.’ On an album full of hidden meanings and deception, New York is a sweet little ditty in which Annie pays homage to her favourite city and actually talks about a relationship that seems fairly healthy - her adorable and highly shippable relationship with Cara Delevingne (RIP Cannie). Yay, I guess? It might actually be my favourite song of the year; as I write this review, I’m still debating whether to give it my 11, so stay tuned.

    I’m not gonna go into the individual tracks just yet because I’ve done extensive analysis of each track for their respective elimination posts, which you are all gonna have to wait for. But this album is 100% all killer, no filler. Like, I even bop to ‘Dancing With A Ghost’ despite it being 40 seconds of white noise with some distant baroque strings. Talent! My favourite track changes with every fresh listen, but at the moment of writing this review, ‘Smoking Section’ gives me everything I need and sums up this record perfectly - taking us to the very edge in every sense...only to slowly pull us all back in before it’s too late. A few people have mentioned that it’s a little too overwhelming and I totally get that, but the sound of a woman literally talking herself of a ledge over the possibility of experiencing the sensation of love again is just so beautiful to me, as much as it is haunting.

    As far as bangers are concerned, I have a dark enough sense of humour that I can still get my life to Young Lover, which depicts the scene of Annie stumbling upon her toyboy having a fucking overdose on what was meant to be a cute lil Parisian weekend getaway. I would be pissed off too, sis. She said it herself on Sugarboy - “I’ve got a crush on tragedy.” Along with the genius of the album’s sequencing, I am fascinated by how Annie has been simultaneously candid and secretive when discussing the macabre lyrics. This is shown in the hilarious and vital reading that is the track-by-track interview she did for Bitchfork, in which Annie clearly has no mf time for the craft beer drinking alt-gay attempting to interviewing her (well worth a read tbh - Most of her responses to questions digging into the darker lyrics on the album were met with ‘it’s up to the audience to interpret my words, they change meaning the moment the record is out of my hands’, which is equally brilliant as it is frustrating. Annie has always been a bit of enigma who keeps her private life closely-guarded, but there are cheeky flashes of ankle (c’mon Victorian references!) to be found here, namely her former sugargirl Cara contributing vocals on Pills. The gay agenda always wins!

    Over 1100 words into this review, I think this might be the time to stop. I said earlier that I wouldn’t be doing a track-by-track...and yet I think I may well have mentioned every damn track by name at some point in the write bad. In finishing, Masseduction is an album worth your time, energy, money and wigs. I’m sure everyone reading this will either have participated in my rate, or at least popped into the thread for a gander at the messery (maybe even to give out a cheeky like or two, wink x), so rest assured that I have many more incoherent sentences to string together for this incredible body of work, created by an incredible woman.

    And I’m out, back into my thread I go...

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  6. Also one of my original plans was to make festive versions of everyone's album covers to preface their reviews but I soon gave up because I ran out of ideas. But one I did do before throwing in the towel was for MASSEDUCTION and I'm very proud of it~

  7. The shade for Love This Giant!

    (In all seriousness, excellent review @constantino , for a great album. I'd put it just a bit below Actor and Strange Mercy, but above the s/t. Extra points to her for blowing off Bloody Ryan Sodding Dombal, too.)
    A&E, R92, enjoy and 3 others like this.
  8. I ADORE this album (which will become very clear during the rate) and love this review! As someone who has followed St Vincent since her debut, this album does feel like a beautiful continuation of all she's done (though I was decidedly not in middle school when it came out). Seeing her perform it in full after a chronological reworking of her hits was one of the best concert experiences of my life. The thing that struck me most about this album and the concert really reinforced was how strong Annie's vocals are.
  9. Listening to Actor from Primary??? Earn that Hipsterjustice title a bit.

    Great review though sis!
  10. I'm properly catching up now, so lemme share my thoughts.

    @Kuhleezi I couldn't be bothered to give Lana my time of day after Honeymoon was absolutely underwhelming, but your review had me considering giving Lust For Life a proper chance.

    @NecessaryVoodoo I've been meaning to check Zola out for a while, so lemme add her to my list for when my classes are over!

    @Mina the whole comic book thing had me super intrigued! So even though I never considered actually listening to Lights, I'll check her out as well.

    @constantino at first listen I didn't care much for Masseduction, but damn does it find a way to pull you in. I was extremely impressed with how sonically creative Annie is. Her and Jack did an amazing job together. Great review too sis x
  11. RJF


    I absolutely rinsed the St. Vincent album for two weeks before pretty much putting it away, but it's still very, very good. Just... not that much of a casual listen, perhaps.
    HeartSwells and constantino like this.
  12. Thanks for your comments everyone! Like I said, it could've been a lot better but I cut a lot of my comments about individuals tracks out in order to use them for the rate instead. It's so exciting to see how many people are aware of her and listening to her music, because she's been a fave of mine for years.
    The problem I've been having is that I HAVE been listening to it casually since it came out and now I need to take a break to preserve my feelings. It's an album that needs to breath every now and again, for sure.

    P.S. I'll mostly likely be recycling the review for my rate, so just as well y'all enjoyed it.

    P.S.S. Have I mentioned that I'm hosting a rate that includes Masseduction among others??
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  13. 2014

    2014 Moderator

    GREAT work @constantino! I keep meaning to really delve into her work and you've helped made me more perched, and the singles from Masseduction are great!
    NecessaryVoodoo and constantino like this.
  14. I am so glad I didnot score that StVincent yet for @constantino's rate as I wasnot swept. But that review definitely helps to put the songs in perspective.
    Untouchable Ace and constantino like this.
  15. 2014

    2014 Moderator

    Today's comes a bit earlier as I'm out all day, but it gives y'all plenty more time to enjoy it;

    December 5th
    P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
    Reviewed by @Terminus


    What about all the times you said we had the answer...
    I love P!nk, I've loved her since about 2001, she was alright in 2000, but 2001 gave us both Lady Marmalade, and Missundaztood. I was 15 on the verge of coming out, a lot overweight, and a lot of it spoke to me. I've followed her though Trouble, had a dalliance with U and U're Hand, gone Sober, and it's been Fuckin Perfect, sort of...
    P!nk got a bit reliable on the pop scene... Give us a bop, give us something mid-tempo, sell the album (and she always sells), put on an amazing live show (and she does, I've been thrice), and then repeat, it felt like this formula was at its peak with the last one, Truth About Love. So with Beautiful Trauma, us long term fans knew what we were getting when the rumours of release started...
    Then she dropped What About Us. And it stood out. It stood out amongst all her previous first single releases as having the foot off the BPM a tad, and it stood out this summer. It pulls you in. She sounds superb (as we've since seen, she also sounds superb hanging off the side of a bloody hotel), she wants to give us a message, but not cram it down our throats, but also it catches the right side of the tropic-house scene. It is housey,those muffled backing vocals do that trick, it might be the most housey number she's given us, and it sounds different to what we've had before. That's all we want, from artists we love, not a retread, something different.
    Of course, it sold in Australia, it also became a big hit in the UK (we love her too), and the US. In 2017, here was P!NK making a long serving hit where quite a few others just hadn't (but they should) so far this year.

    The pill I keep taking...
    Next came the pre-release goodies, and the rumours of the big Eminem duet (more on that in a tad), what did we do when we didn't get a track or two before release, were we more excited about albums? Anyhow, on a side note, I adore Jack Antonoff. I've seen Bleachers live in the tiniest of stages in Manchester, and both their albums are pretty great (I love most things that sound like 80's stadium rock). He appears to have become the producer of choice for 2017, and here was his co-write, Beautiful Trauma.
    The title track. And it's one of those that starts a bit soft, a bit down, and then it smacks you across the chops. And then it slows a bit, the it hits you with a Just Like A Pill reference, and it keeps going. It doesn't stop, and best of all, it doesn't sound like anything Antonoff has done with anyone else yet, even when the synths come in. P!nk and actual sounding synths, the pre-chorus might be one of my favourite things on the album. I dream of more synths in more pop music, and here we are, also the "I didn't choose this!" backing vocal is hilarious. I'm happy it's jostled it's way to be the second single, it sound good on the radio, it sounds good played loud (to be honest most the album does). Antonoff also provided us with Better Life for the album. And it's good, but this one is a bit different. It's a bit Bleachers, specifically Bleachers latest album. It could slot into the second half of Gone Now, and you wouldn't notice. That's no bad thing, as that album won't be half as well known with the general public, but it could have easily been producer with a slightly different sound, Alecia carries it well though, and the final minute is nicely vocal heavy.
    And then, release wise, we got, Whatever You Want, and it appears Ms P!nk, or her execs, gave us the perfect single two and three as the pre-release tracks. It's bloody stunnin.

    I feel like our ship's going down tonight
    is a beautifully tragic lyric. I mean, I love it when P!nk gives us heartbreak, but it's usually slower, they don't go off like this one does. She throws in a high screech into the final chorus, and it's a power ballad I could imagine Heart giving us in the 90's, it's also very drum and guitar heavy, and maybe the most rock her pop has been for albums. It should be a single as it's simply that good, by then, I wouldn't be adverse to For Now or I Am Here being sent out in the new year.
    So then came Revenge, and it's probably the best Eminem duet on a P!nk album, it's also the silliest song on the album, and thankfully the only silly one. It bops a bit, and it works well with its rap/sing nursery rhyme mash-up. I just wish they'd do something more serious together, because they make a good pair, but then maybe that's because they seem to like each other, which is always good in a duet (and appear to have actually met).
    And then finally the album was unleashed.

    I've got some things to say...
    Barbies, a title you'd expect to be another Stupid Girls, and it's a sensitive guitar strummer for the first two minutes, about looking back on your youth. I always find it interesting when Mothers sing about going back in time, it always hits a little harder, and the sing also builds up perfectly to that middle-8 about grass stained knees.
    Secrets, is a lost Ace Of Base album track. With its do do dos, and ah ah ahs, and it also works well as a slight change of tempo to the latter half of the album, along with Better Life.
    You Get My Love is a good closer, but also slightly, oh here's the Glitter In The Air retread. She sounds great though, and her voice really carries across the message, but the fact it comes after the slightly forgettable Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken does it an injustice. Yep, slightly forgettable, I may be a big P!nk fan, but she doesn't always hit the right wavelengths. To be honest, But We Lost It also slums down into it, interchangeable, slightly monotonous slowies that only pick up in the final minute, with similar lyrics, that not even an amazing Grammy's performance could save. I'd have lost them from the album on my iPod if it wasn't for this review.

    Freeze Frame, Pause, Rewind, Stop
    Luckily there's a bit more left to it all.
    For one, For Now gives us a bloody double chorus. I mean, double choruses are pop music gold, and they are literal cat nip to my ears. She also sounds at her most fragile over this one.
    For two, the topical feel springs back into the album with Where We Go. It's the most sonically similar to What About Us, but also, feels like a follow up, a bit less introverted, and a look at a couple in a wider world instead of just themselves. Of course, it helps it's an absolute ear worm. It jaunty, and catchy, and memorable. It could have led the thing, and I think it would have caught on as well as What About Us, it's the feel of it, the style.
    And for three, I Am Here is here amongst them all. Mumford much, no that's just the guitars. It's fast, it talks about fucking, it's chorus is an absolute belter, before raising up to 11 with its gospally choir. It follows a similar theme to many on the album, about knowing/or not, your place in the world, but with more assurance in the former. It should close the album, as it feels very final, and it sounds bloody marvellous getting sung along to in the car, loudly. It will also sound marvellous at her next tour, hopefully as the fake end before the encore, hopefully by next June it'll have been a single to boot (let's forget Revenge was ever planned as one).

    I don't have the answer but the questions are clear,
    It's an 8.5/10 of an album, with at least four 10/10 songs. I've probably played it third most out of the whole year, yet it's been out the least, and that's a good sign.
    What more can you really ask for... She doesn't play it as safe as she has this last decade, but also sounds at her complete most confident and best. She's an underrated powerhouse vocalist, and as those first week worldwide sales showed, she appears to be getting bigger as time goes on, and it's more than well deserved. If you haven't listened to Beautiful Trauma, because it's just another P!nk album, well guess what, it's her best in 11 Years, and surely that's enough to convince you?
    For Now!
  16. Yes.

    Definitely echoing the sentiment from I Am Here. A highlight in my book.
    Terminus and londonrain like this.
  17. I really like this album - and thank you for that review, @Terminus!

    It feels like Pink gets a lot of unexpected slating around the forum (the Big Pop Girls rate being an excellent example), which seems unwarranted given the quality of this album. It's one of my favourite albums of the year.
    Ironheade and Terminus like this.
  18. Thankyou, and I completely agree. She always has, and is just as much a "Big Pop Girl" as the others, even if she's manage to transcend the audience a tad, and move seemlessly into Adult Contempory, where others have completely failed.
    It's a really really good album, and one I haven't stopped listening to since release. Such an improvement over Truth About Love in many ways.
    Ironheade and londonrain like this.
  19. Today's review comes from the sole k-pop clique participant in our advent calendar:

    December 6th
    Taemin - Move
    Reviewed by @eccentricsimply

    Another year another me writing a review about an album from a guy whose career started in a boygroup. Unlike Zayn, though, Taemin’s presence in South Korean group SHINee is going strong, even after ten years, extensivediscographies in both Korean and Japanese and five album solos of his own. His solo debut came in 2014 with Danger, a six tracks EP – or mini-album, how it’s more commonly referred in Korean music – which single with the same name did a good job of introducing a new side of Taemin to the public, but that now seems to fall short to what he can actually deliver, especially after the following releases. Press It, his first full-album, came with the title track “Press Your Number”. Originally written by Bruno Mars and later adapted to Korean lyrics, the song is extremely funky, but the added synths make it sound more like a Taemin song rather than a Brunoone.

    Whereas it’s flawed at times, Press It was a strong debut, with a sound undeniably different from the one Taemin was used to make with SHINee, but also a few steps above what he first delivered with Danger. However, it’s with his second full album Move that Taemin really shows he’s a force to be reckoned with.

    The album opens with the title track “Move”, a groovy R&B track, arranged start to finish around a borderline filthy bass line. Gone is the hesitant sensuality that flowed across his two previous Korean releases and the two Japanese releases as well. In “Move”, Taemin proves he’s no longer the fourteen-year old he was when he first debuted with SHINee, in 2008, instead that he’s a grown man who knows how to use of his music, his voice and his body to put out a performance you can’t keep your eyes off of. The actual music video is a simple affair – nothing beyond some gorgeous shots of Taemin by himself or with dancers, outfits that accentuate the cold, underground feel of it and the occasional $980 crystal embroidered Gucci mask. The two accompanying videos, though, are performance videos – one shot with female background dancers, one shot with the choreographer of this particular dance.

    Taemin is regarded as one of the best dancers in Korea. At the start of his career, he had often had his image sold as a boy who could pass as a girl, what with his thin body and long lines, due to years of dancing. It soon evolved to mockery being tossed his way to the point where he completely denounced this image and was often insisting people for people to not compare him to a woman. However, he seems to have let go of these conceptions and realized that this particular androgyny of his is a trait that can be used to his favor, especially in his performance. In “Move” this is made pretty clear. There’s nothing stereotypically masculine or feminine about the dance, and that’s what makes it – and Taemin – shine and make the videos elevate an already strong song.

    “Move” is followed by “Love”, a piano driven mid-tempo ballad that allows Taemin to showcase the vocals he had to work hard for. Debuting as the group’s main dancer, he had never been a particular good vocalist, and this was made pretty obvious when he wasn’t given many parts in the group’s first few releases. It wasn’t until 2011 that he started getting proper vocal lessons, and has since elevated himself into a decent, although still faulty at times, vocalist. “Love” was originally meant to be the album’s title track, but Taemin’s decision to go with “Move” instead was a clever one. Although still a captivating song, “Love” doesn’t have the immediate effect “Move” does.

    He showcases his vocals again in “Rise” and “Back To You”, the album’s other slower songs. “Rise” has a build up that leaves you clinging to it – it’s a song that pulls you in using Taemin’s voice and the right instruments to create an ambiance to it that isn’t present in other tracks of this album, or of his previous releases. The lyrics are inspired by the story of Icarus – the Korean name of the song – and are worth checking the translation of, due to its extremely poetic tone. “Back To You” is located further down the album and is the most simple song on it. With nothing but Taemin and an acoustic guitar, “Back To You” is a delightful listen, one laced with a softness that helps in settling you down after the heaviness that paints the rest of the album.

    “Heart Stop” is a collaboration with Red Velvet’s member, Seulgi. It’s the first duet he’s sang with a woman, and the contrasting quality to their voices makes this already pleasant track even better. “Crazy 4 U” is arguably the weakest track of the bunch, but it’s still graced with an interesting mixture of sounds - it starts off with a strong beat and it escalates into a lighter and more dynamic instrumental. “Thirsty” has been a fan favorite from the moment Taemin performed the song in his concert in August, particularly because of the lyrics. “When I’m in front of you, I get thirsty, yeah/My whole body trembles, my breath gets hot,” he sings and that, plus other parts with sexual implications warranted the song to be forbidden from being played on a particular channel in Korea. It’s another one with a heavy bass made even heavier in the remixed version released afterwards called “Thirsty (OFF-SICK Concert Version).” The sexual vibes Taemin alluded to in a song from Press It, “Sexuality”, is multiplied by ten, so it was inevitable fans would latch onto this particular track.

    It’s “Stone Heart”, however, that captures my attention in particular. The song starts off as a mid-tempo with a prominent albeit lighter beat. In Taemin’s voice there’s a hint of aching, made even stronger in the live performances where he started off dancing on a chair. Soon enough it’s introduced a quicker pace with some house elements, only present for the pre-choruses and choruses, and that fades into the background once they are done. Its dynamic is unique and causes the track to stand out amongst songs that are already pretty different from each other. The album closes at nine tracks with the Korean version of his latest Japanese single, “Flame Of Love”. I’d usually find the inclusion unnecessary and disrupting of the vibe of the album, but since it follows “Back To You” which already did a good job of offering closure, “Flame Of Love” works more like a bonus track, an extra gift for the listener to assess how versatile Taemin is as an artist.

    Nine tracks might be too short, but for Move it works perfectly. It allows for the album to remain cohesive start to finish, without a track that sounds particularly out of place, but it also allows for each song to have its own moment. There isn’t a single bad track here and even the weakest of them has enough strong suits that it still doesn’t warrant a skipping value. Taemin’s main musical inspirations are Prince and Michael Jackson, and all that 80s influence is pretty blatant, but not in a way that makes it seem like he’s trying to copy them. Rather, he’s paying tribute to the music of artists he admires and respects profoundly while maintaining his identity and keeping the songs current rather than outdated.

    Differently from the first album, Taemin didn’t make contributions lyrically this time. However, he was granted the possibility of choosing exactly which songs were going to be put here, their order as well as what would be the song to represent the album, and a few arrangements he’s done in different songs. There’s so much credit that should be given to him for managing to deliver a product made in an extremely controlled environment under severe scrutiny, but that never fails to be a piece filled with extreme artistry, while also deviating from most k-pop releases this year by not going the easier way of following trends. Taemin is, in my opinion, an artist that aids in proving that pop music isn’t an inferior genre and that music can be beautifully constructed even in a place of creative restriction. Not to mention he puts occidental male pop artists to shame by delivering strong performances made with ever stronger music.

    Whereas Danger was a good start and Press It a step in the right direction, it’s with Move that he’s beginning to define a style of music he excels at. At twenty-four, Taemin has already had his fair share of accomplishments, but I have no doubt there’s a lot more he’ll workhard in order to achieve and deliver.