When crowned crooner-producer wunderkind James Blake posted a cryptic message over his Twitter account last week hinting at some sort of collaboration with Justin Vernon, indie’s other shrilled-voiced man of the year — giving us little to go on besides the words “Fall Creek Boys Choir” and the date “24th August 2011” — the sun was expected to explode yesterday. The mountains were to move, the sea was to part, our purpose on earth was to be made clear through the power of two emotionally purging musicians.
Instead what we got was the premiere of a song called “Fall Creek Boys Choir” on BBC Radio 1, featuring Vernon harmonizing with his heavily Auto-Tuned self and Blake doing whatever it is that people are constantly praising him for behind the boards. The track itself is old news by now (you can listen to it below), but the overly enthusiastic reactions to it are still mind-boggling to me. There are already 914 “likes” on the Pitchfork post alone. Really?
The isolating, understated drama that both artists thrive on is present here, I get it, it’s “raw.” But even the auto-tuned bits aside, it comes across as manufactured to me. It sounds bland. And there’s a part of me that can’t help but pull an “I could do that” response to Blake’s minimalist production work. I don’t understand how we got to a place where this is what’s getting people excited about music right now. Someone help me, explain it to me, what do you love about this song? What’s the deal with the barking?