|U.S. Girls / In A Poem Unlimited|
|Add Date:||2018-05-30|| ||Pull Date:||2018-08-01|| |
|Week Ending:||17 Jun||10 Jun||3 Jun|
Meg Remy—the woman behind U.S. Girls—makes pop music. It’s accessible and sleek, but there’s an experimental, strange quality to what she does. It’s familiar yet unfamiliar, evoking the pop songs of the 1970s and 1980s, but it feels like it couldn’t have been made until this decade. This is a jazzy, funky record that’s immaculately lacquered and polished, but if you listen into the lyrics you can hear the barbs of anger that poke through. (The first three songs are a revenge fantasy, a lament about a sterile oil refinery worker, and a protest song directed at Obama.) It’s pop music at its strangest and smartest, and you can even dance to it while the world burns.|
Favorites: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8
1) “Velvet 4 Sale” (3:34)* – Slow, psychedelic sound with swirling guitars and thick bass. Breathy vocals with echoed inhales and exhales in the background, and tasteful horns during the chorus.
2) “Rage of Plastics” (4:28) – Vocal-driven song. Persistent drumbeat backed by electric guitar and piano. Wild saxophone solo at about 2:30.
3) “M.A.H.” (2:54)* – (Short for “mad as hell.”) Glossy, swirling, punchy pop song. While it sounds like it could be about any breakup, it’s specifically a kiss-off to Obama, taking him to task for his use of drones in warfare. (Give Remy another couple of years and she can write an entire album about the current administration.) Abrupt ending.
4) “Why Do I Lose My Voice When I Have Something to Say” (0:26) – Remy repeats the titular phrase, but it sounds like she’s speaking it into a phone. Oh, and with a bad cold. Don’t bother playing.
5) “Rosebud” (3:10)* – Trip-hop-inspired beat, with a violin accompaniment and vocals that sound like they were recorded in a bathroom down the hall. Easy on the ears, but faintly menacing, right down to the final line: “It’ll hurt, I promise you.”
6) “Incidental Boogie” (3:23)* – Noisy and abrasive, with constant guitar feedback. Frequent bursts of guitar and percussion. Sounds almost like industrial krautrock.
7) “L-Over” (4:06) – Slow, lumbering number that drifts along like a fog. All kinds of strange guitar and synthesizer effects lurking in the background—shimmers, squawks, and squonks. Definitely more of a lyrics-first song, with Remy singing about an unsatisfying (ex-) lover.
8) “Pearly Gates” (4:02)* – Vaguely funky song with a chugging drumbeat and a sinister-sounding guitar riff. In the last minute, Remy starts singing in a higher register from the background. Makes me think of something Stevie Wonder would’ve done in his classic run in the ‘70s, or Black Messiah-era D’Angelo.
9) “Poem” (3:31) – Starts with a repeated synth arpeggio and steady drumbeat, which run throughout the song. Gradually adds some more flutters of synth as the song goes on. Sounds like a classic ‘80s synth-pop tune, albeit more polished and subdued. Runs right up to the end of the track, so fade out.
10) “Traviata” (0:13) – Sounds like a snippet of dialogue from an old film. “You spy?” “No, I’m a singer.” Skip it.
11) “Time” (7:49) – Song gets going right off the bat with fast-paced percussion and scratching, funky guitar riff. Frequent, sudden guitar or saxophone solos. There’s not much more to the lyrics beyond a simple, repeating (yet ever-changing) mantra about time, and after 2:30 there’s no lyrics at all. Sounds like getaway driving music, which I mean in the best way possible. Put it on if something’s happening in the station that requires your attention.