I've spent a lot of time thinking about "Only Acting", the lead single off of British pop trio Kero Kero Bonito's sophomore album Time 'n' Place, one of my personal favorites of the past decade. Upon its initial release it marked a distinct turning point in the band's sound and approach to songwriting; while their unique ear for catchy hooks and melodies was as present and strong as ever, the single was more guitar-driven than anything they had put out up to that point, trading in the cutesy, bubbly synth pop of their debut album for instrumentation and chord progressions nostalgic for the power-pop of decades past. The real kicker, however, comes at the end of the track: as the bridge builds up to its final chorus, there's a key change that ends as quickly as it beings, being immediately interrupted by random skips, glitches, and a wall of piercing harsh noise, and just like that, the track ends.
In subverting the expectation of the well used (but nonetheless charming) cliche—one that they've never hesitated to indulge in up to this point—the band discards all notion of a satisfactory resolution in favor of the pop music equivalent of an anxiety attack. It goes against all of our learned expectations for tension, release and resolution in pop songwriting, so much so that they put out a radio version alongside it in which the final chorus is allowed to play through to completion. While many have expressed their preference for this edit, over time I've developed a fondness for this odd, distorted, and unyielding creative left turn; while perhaps not best suited for everyone's musical palette, this subversion isn't random or carelessly tacked on—in fact, it's what makes the song so effective.
While Delta Sleep rarely stray outside conventional math rock aesthetics and conventions, their adept hand at lyrical storytelling, ambitious narrative concepts and clever musical-thematic interplay makes for one of the most immersive and challenging concept albums you're likely to hear this year.
Anyone who has ever tried to create something artistic knows that doing so is as far removed from simple and painless as any task can be and is every bit as exhausting as it is time consuming. Newer and younger creators who have only recently chosen to dedicate their time and mental energy to crafting … Continue reading Akko, Yoshinari, and the Journey of the Young Creator
At the beginning of February of this year, I decided that I would henceforth sample all of the new music being released each week for the remainder of the year via Spotify. As a musician and an avid fan of music as a narrative art medium, I thought it would be a fun experiment that … Continue reading I Am a Product of the Streaming Age
One of the things that I find most interesting about Scum’s Wish is its structure of having multiple narrative perspectives. In the first couple episodes Hanabi immediately seemed to take on the role of the protagonist, the character whom we would vicariously live through as the story unfolded, experiencing her feelings and thoughts exclusively. However, … Continue reading Scattered Thoughts on Multiple Narrative Perspectives in Scum’s Wish
Youjo Senki’s finale was utterly fantastic. It concluded its story in a way that felt like the creators had accomplished everything they set out to do while still leaving it open to future additions, which is no small feat. It didn’t end in a spectacular battle, despite its intense depiction of war being among its … Continue reading Youjo Senki: Parallels and the Mistake of Being X
A sentiment I see expressed increasingly often in discussions on "slice-of-life" anime is a general disdain for the tropes and trends that have become commonplace for the genre, and it's one that I can hardly judge. Before delving into the anime medium, my misconception of it as being full of obnoxious tropes was one of … Continue reading Scattered Thoughts on Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
First off, it's good to be back to regular posting after that brief period of inactivity! So here's a few quick updates on what I'm working on right now and hope to accomplish in the next couple weeks. First off, I'm currently working my way through Winter 2017 anime which has been an....interesting experience thus … Continue reading Brief Blog/Life Update
It was the cigarette detail and others like in the first few episodes of ACCA that first captured my interest. When Lotta tossed Jean his pack of cigarettes in the first episode, I think not only considered it to be a great addition to the show’s aesthetics and setting, but was also elated to discover … Continue reading ACCA’s GENIUS Details (and Less Genius Generalizations)
Flip Flappers is one of the most well constructed shows in its thematic presentation that I’ve seen recently. Everything about it’s conception and structure are brilliantly designed to communicate its ideas and messages. Even the most fundamental element of its complex infrastructure is in service of one of its core themes. If you strip away … Continue reading Flip Flappers: Magical Girls and Thematic Presentation