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Even the pitch-black record’s rare glimpse of something close to normal domesticity is delivered in an alienating chirp. “From Off to On” still has a few creeptastic lyrics suggesting some sort of prolonged medical situation (“we want happiness back/ we want control of our bodies”), but at its heart it’s about gathering around the TV, daydreaming about celebrities, and indulging in a little recuperative escapism. That a synthetic voice should also express these banal sentiments is a new wrinkle in electronic music. Kraftwerk leant meaning to their revolutionarily mechanized songs by lyrically identifying as machines, albeit bots with suspiciously Teutonic accents. Daft Punk entered the decade taking the make-believe further, positing that robots themselves could be the debonair playboys fulfilling a manufactured design to fill the dancefloor. Silent Shout’s cyborg protagonists go far beyond a focus on musical performance, suggesting that if machines were sensitive enough to create such affectingly dark music, they’d be beset by the same day-to-day reality, the same amount of interior dread, as any other convicted artist.
While the record’s dystopian synth contours precondition a mental picture of a man/machine hybrid, the way the Dreijers themselves visually presented their songs suggest that they were aiming for other associations. In the aforementioned Pitchfork interview, Karin articulated her desire to distance the music even further from a standard autobiographical singer/songwriter reading, “It's fiction. A more unnatural way would be to stand there with your own face and with your private life-- that's not healthy or good for the music.” That conviction was reinforced by scores of publicity photos taken in matching ink-black Venetian death masks.
Haha.. we were kidding about all those other ones. This is obviously, objectively, the best record
ever of the decade.
Dec 23, 2009
Breakup records should not be this good.
Dec 23, 2009
After five years and three albums spent building something, Wilco decided to tear it down and start fresh. The music industry did the same thing. But it didn't exactly have a choice.
Dec 22, 2009
With just ten songs, Arcade Fire successfully mourned the loss of multiple relatives, helped us discover a new way of dealing with adversity, and changed the face of indie-rock.
Dec 21, 2009
Once upon a time, the person we now know as the single most irritating figure in all of popular music was the most impressive artist the game had ever seen. It was fun while it lasted.
Dec 17, 2009
It was the most talked-about record of 2006, but when no one could quite make sense of it, they stopped trying. Doesn't make it less brilliant, but more.
Dec 16, 2009