Women love to qualify. Honestly, this is a trait we don’t value enough because perceptions of “confidence” or whatever, but it’s so thoughtful to lay out your reasoning. Sometimes, women love to qualify their opinions with a degree of uncertainty: “I’m not an expert on the topic, but…” I edit this out sometimes because 1) men rarely ever do this, sometimes even about topics they have no fucking clue about and 2) okay fine you’re not an expert but you have spent literally hours googling this topic and that is APPARENT 3) I am trying to keep these episodes at a reasonable length sorry. I also frequently undercut myself, but I’m getting better about just going for it. This also means that women have become used to men mansplaining that they’re scared of being wrong. In June, a man explained to me that Pharrell was a producer. Uh huh, very interesting; I did not know that.
Talking about your crushes is crazy cathartic for women. There are plenty of dudes who write Real Serious Music Criticism who feel the need to comment on the attractiveness and appearance of female musicians. Meanwile, being a fangirl is seen as girlish; grown ass women are not supposed to have crushes! What women see as important in music is connected to fantasy and desire. This is somewhat vital to the explaining why Swoonstep has basically become WeHeartDrake Podcast. We love Drake because of a plethora of reasons that stem from what he talks about in his music (also abs, I guess). Why do women love Matthew Dear? Because his music gives us our own little worlds on the dance floor (also hair, I guess). Anyway, related: you should read Hazel (piratemoggy) on teenage girls and fandom. It’s like the best thing ever, swear to god.
Women and women of color are around. Diversity is not just a fucking statistic to me; it means contrasting, differentiating, important opinions and unique, interesting voices. Interesting, unique, diverse groups of people may not be in the traditional places though because they’ve been shut down in those same places. You gotta dig a little. Some of the most best music criticism is happening on Black Girls Talking even if it’s not explicitly a music thing. No one we’ve ever asked to do Swoonstep has ever said no. In fact, most women are really super psyched to be asked about their opinions. This helps when you create an open and inviting environment for everyone. Set that tone and expectation early.
Hosting is both hard and easy: the easy part is how easy it is to listen. Our guests are always great. Megan is consistently hilarious. I’m often okay with not needing to chime in and have the last word. There is something rewarding about learning not to “I agree, and also…” The hard part is being the boner killer and having to structure and guide the conversation within a reasonable timeframe.
I think Megan and I are the only ones doing a ladies music podcast. There are other awesome podcasts that focus on a lot of other stuff, but we do music. That is cool!
U should listen to Swoonstep if you are a smart and cool Tumblr person. Or if, like most of us, you’re a terrified and small and lonely and anxious Tumblr user, fretting at your persona both on the site and in the world and desperately fumbling your way towards, ever towards, Nicki Minaj.
Having an absolutely vast quantity of feelings about Fall Out Boy and specifically Patrick and like, the whole fan/base thing where people send him long emails about how he’s never been as good as From Under The Cork Tree and Steve Rogers and the ~greatest generation~ and Cis & Isabel to the floor pls to urgently discuss this in great depth. (Yes I am writing about the new song for the Jukebox why do u ask)
“Fandom, after all, is born of a balance between fascination and frustration: if media content didn’t fascinate us, there would be no desire to engage with it; but if it didn’t frustrate us on some level, there would be no drive to rewrite or remake it.”—Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture, 2006. (via bigbangthesis)
any of you guys going to nine worlds con 2015? i know it’s pretty early to ask who’s going to a convention that takes place next august but early ticket prices are better than late ticket prices, so i got them before i could chicken out. so. anyone?
Reblogging for a friend.
Got my early ticket, and my Gent’s, and I know at least one of the author guests is making a return. There’ll be a few of us!
I have my early bird & am bringing DEAN. I mean Kevin. I mean my cosplay puppet. Yep.
Hoping to have a stall again, wheeee
I am running Comics Fandom again. We have already got a day and a half of schedule suggested/semi-organised. I feel tiny frissons of excitement and also the huge bearing weight of DEAR GOD ALREADY?
(I’m joking- basically it’s never too early to start talking about how you’re gonna go to Nine Worlds; let’s all go to Nine Worlds)
2014 has been a year for tripping and falling on one song and playing it again and again because there is a point in the emotion it induces when, like cresting some kind of quasi-orgasmic wave, you cease feeling anything else at all ever and somehow sublime whatever is going on into a perfect, hideous distillation of acuteness. The reduction and expansion of your being to an all-consuming, transcendental thing that can only be soothed and stoked by endlessly looping a track that, like some circular ritual, has one bit (or maybe several choruses) that so perfectly does something you are hungrily addicted to, deep in supplication to the feels-catharsis.
There’s a point- and it’s the point to a lot of the music I love best, where a song takes over your being, erasing the self and allowing some expression of pure emotion outside the confines of your shitty old self. It’s why I talk about music as sex a lot- it’s that intimacy, that intensity of feeling, physical or emotional (maybe both, if you’re a jammy bugger) and the fact it’s someone else facilitating these things, something else taking the feels wheel for a bit.
I mean, I’m probably a bit emotionally stunted. I’m definitely fucked up. But this is hardly new, as a concept for why music exists- it goes back to the earliest moment of humans banging rocks together- and also I absolutely refuse to apologise for anything that includes an acute appreciation of Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer.
Anyway, one of the songs I’ve tripped and fallen on (and I have many more to write about but we’re heading to Q4 and most of them will probably end up in the end-of-year breakdown) is last year’s Old Love/New Love by Twin Shadow. It’s off of GTA V, which explains why I didn’t notice it last year because I was too busy using the game as an excuse to needlessly row with my now-former partner to pay any attention to the soundtrack. And maybe there’s an element of that sadness, in it (it’s certainly made me think about it) and maybe there’s a generally terrible blister of pain to return to about 2013 in general, that’s only not a present bother because 2014 so comprehensively fucked everything in its own right.
This song, though. So it’s been on repeat for like three days now and I’m getting to know it at that point where it’s very nearly losing effect and also is at its most effective it’ll ever be. We’re at peak dirty weekend, basically. This song is really ridiculous. This song is expressing all kinds of emotions for me, currently. Mostly this deep, sad, old pain that’s terribly complex and brutal and like god why this song why now, etc.
The first few notes are nearly inconsequential, except in the context of your eighty seven billionth listen, because by that point you know that those first few ripples of synth, that teasing piano looseness, is going to deliver like fuck.
Now, reader, you may be unfamiliar with what house piano is, in which case I am a little excited for you because it means you are going to be able to experience all the emotions of house piano for the first time. House piano is the hook that makes all your favourite balearic and euphoric and handbag tracks unbearably, hideously tragic and also irresistably danceable. House piano is the wub wub wubwubwuwbwuuub of about fifteen years ago. House piano is everything I will ever love and the exact sensations in my chest cavity of doing so. House piano is taking the principles of a glorious, glorious riff in a metal song and bypassing them through a blues hook and then sticking on some fucking filter and crying until you are sick on a dancefloor. House piano is being alone on a station on the way home from the night before, house piano is cold and free and lonely and insular- the piano is a solo instrument, at its heart, its hooks consistently self-involved; it’s Ralph from the Muppets dropping a load of E and sobbing his tits off while playing to a hotel lobby. It’s the moment the sun drops at the last night of a festival and you can stop trying to pretend your mates aren’t frankly driving you up the fucking wall by this point and just dance without having to be arsed with them anymore. It’s attempting to feel something by snogging on a beach that’s much too windswept outside a club night that’s not good enough. It’s percussive notes that set off blues and pinks and neon purples, in its perpetually minor key, in the synaesthetic brain- it literally sounds like a dancefloor wherever you are. It’s the light off a discoball, it’s the slight splash of your drink on your thigh as, leaden-footed, you stumble-dance your way through the pursuit of things that aren’t you.
(that makes it sound like I go clubbing a lot- I kind of really don’t but have enough in the past -and actually ‘the past’ is a big element of house piano- to know what I am fucking hearing)
So what I am saying is that house piano is pretty great. And as you may have guessed, it’s in this song. It’s the heart of this song, its the tragic driver, it’s what makes the chorus obscenely perfect. But there’s plenty more going on.
The emotional narrative is fucking complex and gorgeous, poetic even- the timeslip circularity of it; the Old Love is, in the present time of the song, always that- an ex you’re not over, a thing that can still hurt you even when you know that it’s going to, when you shouldn’t pull on those threads. And a lot of the euphoria of the song is the weird freeing sensation of going ‘THIS IS COMPLETELY FUCKING ME UP’ and just giving yourself over to not even being able to.
I like the idea of the Old Love as depression, which would explain some of the looping and adds an even darker element to the familiarity because after the first statements, that an old love called and they still sound so sweet, so easy to self-deceive about the hurt you know they represent, this song doesn’t spend any time fucking about before it goes into the chorus;
drill me to the floor
this hurts even more than I expected it to
And I know it means, like, military drill (and goes there with an excellent synth riff a few seconds later) but there’s something ‘throw me in a pit of lava and leave me to die’ Tumblr tag-esque about the idea of actually having your feet drilled onto a dancefloor in some desperate, friendly bid to stop you doing something completely stupid or just to allow you to fully express yourself, maybe.
There’s not much to the song, structurally- there’s that massive, shiny, bleeding heart chorus and it gets repeated extensively but it’s got some touches that are just soul-destroying to me. Like the way, halfway through the first set of choruses, there’s a self-conscious, sarcastic ‘Yup’ between a couple of repeats. It knows how broken it is, it knows it probably shouldn’t drink any more wine but also everything hurts too much to avoid it.
It flips back to the past, for the second verse- the incredible warmth, the gentle familiarity - cus it was you who called me out when I couldn’t shut my mouth ‘bout the last love that did me in
I couldn’t sleep you said ‘just sleep with me’
I couldn’t speak, you said ‘I’m listening’
and if it breaks me down, I’ll be around until it’s you love/you’re my new love
and you might think like, yeah, sure, old love called but new love sounds pretty awesome except that, of course, it returns to the fucking house piano chorus and this time, honestly, just get the Black & Decker out and drill me to the floor because there is absolutely no way this could be worse.
And like, this is all caught up in so muchbad processing and sadness, something I did the other night that has had perhaps more repercussion than I might have hoped but not than I intellectually expected, And we all have our coping methods, so if the drill me to the floor bit is the only way I can, trickle by trickle, process my emotions then well, we’re all mad around here, etc.
There’s something to this being from GTA V, a game I took vehemently against for reasons that fell into two categories: a) rational and b) ‘intense desire to lash out at the world’ which is a dangerous combination because the former makes you think the sort of thing the latter encourages is a good plan. But then, I’ve also been on the verge of tears a lot of the time for a few days because My Life As A Piece Of Trash 2k14 (a separate post) is finding a few last blistering ways to make sure the year keeps its track record.
(I’m ok- I’m actually mostly happy at the minute, which is almost confusing)
This song is somewhere in that- the verses are controlled, explanatory, factual reportage of what went before. And the chorus, the unhinged, sarcastic chorus is an admission of incapability, It’s the tinny naffness of the little military riff section, the complete lack of power behind the supposed drill sergeant element, in comparison to the emotional richness of the chorus, the wry self-horror of the verses, the euphoric delivery of this hurts even more than I expected it to.
I still haven’t got my thoughts in order about it. I’ve just listened to it for another three hours and I haven’t quite worked out what I want to say, except that I keep half-having other ideas. Mostly it’s disgustingly painful and I am a little surprised that something from GTA V can do that and also annoyed I only discovered it last week and I hate everything about everything and want to jump into lava but drill me to the floor.