An Ode to the Album Closer

The great album project has lead us to Kate Bush, which should not be too surprising. But, going through her records made me want to write up something about the way I approach albums.

I think more than anything else on a record, I put a lot of weight on the album closer. In fact, I will look forward with anticipation to the last track on the record.

There is a few reasons for that.

It’s the last artistic message you get to leave the audience. Your closing remarks. The punctuation to your sentence. It’s also a chance to really go out there. If the person was a big enough fan to go front to back on an album, you might as well reward them with something really big.

I don’t think I am alone in saying that none of this is a new concept. I’m not a fucking genius.

I just tend to gravitate towards them. I find the artist gets a moment to stretch, to really go outside themselves and end their track on a high point. The label wont give a shit. You don’t end an album on a single. You end an album on something for the fans.

And if you waste it, you have squandered your biggest opportunity. When an album just…fucking ends… it makes me sad.

You don’t always need to kick ass in an ending, but you need to do something that has the right resonance. Something that just feels right with the rest of the record.

Ending strong. That’s what its about. Like the last song in a set. It’s also a bit of a farewell for now. Like this is the end of this period of creativity. Maybe you give a taste of what is coming next. Maybe not.

Maybe its more of this is the extent to where, as an artist, I have gone to at this time.

Also, a really great last track makes you feel like you want to start the record over again, just to get to experience the journey again. Like, damn they cooked up some good shit with this one.

So, I guess I just close to say, break out your favorite records. Pay some love to those closing tracks. Pay some love to artists who want to care enough to give you something really great to think about as you end a record.

Not every artist does, so just show some love on those album closers. Let them breathe. Hang out with them. You won’t regret it.

Thoughts from the AMEN Pew #73

Its been one of those weeks. Lets get into it.

You ever just feel the Bad Moon Rising. Like you can feel it in the air. Taste it in the water.

I do, at least thats how I feel coming out of the end of this week. I don’t have a direct thing to pinpoint, but…things are….on the rocks with no ice.

Maybe its just paranoia. Maybe its in my head. But I don’t think so. The shit typhoon is coming in better haul in the jib before it is covered in shit.

I have seen a SHOCKING amount of music nerds like go after that new Olivia Rodrigo album. I have no fucking idea why. Like, finally pop music is listening to you. You got something creative here. Like art not product.

Look, its not a perfect album (too many ballads), but this is the first time in a long time that I can honestly say I am excited for a Top 40 artist’s output.

This record is better than the last one, and I think the stock will continue to climb.

I was one of the few and proud at one of the IMAX screenings of the new restoration print of Stop Making Sense done by A24.

Fantastic, gorgeous. Its about time a film this important got that kind of treatment. You can actually see the little fabric lines in the big suit.

That was my main takeaway (other than the amazing Dolby Atmos mix, done by Jerry Harrison, himself) was the detail. I can now see like the reflection of the redlamps on the symbols. I cannot wait for this thing to hit home release to watch it again.

But, lets talk elephant in the room. The Q&A. I have the official version of events in the form of a tweet below, but none of that was my takeaway. Mine was…man…those four people will hate each other to their fucking grave.

I had a friend who INSISTED they were going to announce a reunion tour. No they fucking weren’t. Those cats HATE each other and it shows.

Times change, seasons change, the hatred those four people have….that is a constant in the universe.

I finished a brand new Baldur’s Gate 3 run. Got damn is that game fucking rewarding.

We are really in a great fucking year for gaming. So much good shit is going on at once that is tough to digest it all.

The biggest issue I am having is that I am playing all these super polished games (AC6, Starfield, Sea of Stars) where the mechanics are spectacular and…i’m just stuck on the story.

Like don’t get me wrong, all of these other games…the story is just fine…it is NOT Baldur’s Gate 3. Like they really broke something here.

Maybe I am getting old but that is the standard I am holding future games to. Not the expansive world and customization. The narrative. You got to write man. You got to make something that I find amazing, or I am going to check out.

On that note, I am going to let the liquor do the thinking and keep this one short. I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay away from the voodoo. Keep your armpits clean, and I will yell some shit into the void again next week.

Take it easy.

It’s Ok To Criticize Taylor Swift’s Music

For reasons that are still unclear to me, the great album project has lead me down the path of consuming the entirety of Taylor Swift’s catalogue. 17 hours of fucking music. 13 albums. The works.

Having done this, I have come out with some irrefutable facts. The biggest of which is that Taylor does not like criticism. More than just about any other artist. And the fans will attack you if you go after Taylor.

But I feel like that somehow shield’s her music from criticism. And that does it a disservice, because there is a ton of shit not to like here. Most of which I didn’t think about when I went in. So I figured, as a way of memorializing the herculean task of consuming all of Taylor’s recordings, I wanted to give some thoughts.

And, to say, it is ok to be critical of Taylor. She is most definitely not a perfect musician.

1. Listening to a Taylor Swift Record is like Eating at Golden Corral – Hedonistic Vomitorium

This is an easy one, Taylor’s records are fucking too long. Every single fart she takes during these sessions end up on the record.

Records generally force an artist to have to make a statement. You have to pick your songs, what you think are the best, and leave the listener wanting more. Or bringing them a message. Or something, anything. Fucking Rivers Cuomo wrote a shit pile of stuff heading into the Blue Album, but he was smart enough to like actually cut shit out.

Not with Taylor. You are taking the good, taking the bad, you are taking it all. And you have the facts of Taylor.

The result of this process is that every single Taylor record is at minimum 50% shit. Law of averages, it just is. You can’t have fucking 20 tracks on every album and expect them all to be good. This ratio goes up and down depending on the album, but it never goes lower than 20.

Which leads to my next point.

2. Taylor Has Zero Albumcraft

Maybe its generational, maybe not. But she cannot order a fucking album.

In fact, the album order feels like they were purposely arranged to be in the most annoying order possible. Album openers and closers feel fucking random (the above track is an opener).

Apparently, Track 5 on every record has some kind of special meaning. Which, who gives a shit. What a weird fucking thing to center an track order around.

Like at that point, just make them alphabetical, it would be easier to consume.

3. Taylor Has No Riffwork, Or Melody, Or Compositional Skills

This again feels like an easy one, but no one says it.

Her shit is extremely boring. She usually finds some sort of three note melody or chord sequence and then just strums through. Or throws it in a drum machine.

There is no…musicality to it. Look, she gets compared to Dylan alot. You know what Dylan did with his song’s, composed cool shit. You know, like music.

If it feels like I am being tough at this point, you didn’t have to deal with it. You are coming into this post having heard a single here or there maybe. Hell, maybe you dig on 1989. Good for you. What I am telling you is across the 17 hours that I listened to is generic ass rhythm with nothing interesting going on in it.

4. Her Best Songs Are Not About Her

There are not a ton of these (see the end of the last post for my favorite taylor song). But, she has a tough time being introspective. She only did it well once, and that doesn’t seem like will come back around again.

Plus, I feel like you need a degree in Taylorology to “get” all of these songs. I shouldn’t have to fucking know about her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal to be able to appreciate a song. They should fucking stand on their own weight, and they just can’t.

I feel like her best songs consistently are when she isn’t writing about a relationship she was in, her haters, or things she has done wrong. Taylor will never write a whole album not about herself, but if she could, I think you would end up with her best record to date. And keep it short this time.

5. Her Collaborators Are Her Strength

Who she decides to collaborate with and when directly correlates to how interesting something is. The more its with random pop producers, the more it fucking sucks.

If she can work with people with talent, you may get something halfway interesting. I just wished she liked better music. Maybe we would get something better.

I guess what I am saying is next time she wants to do another Reputation style, fuck the haters binge, call up Cattle Decapitation. They will make sure you have good shit

I guess my overall thought is I don’t connect with the music on an emotional level. She has to bring it to me, and she isn’t going to do that. It is about you coming to Taylor’s World, and fuck you if you can’t.

Well, it took me 17 hours of music, but I can’t. Sorry Taylor. You keep doing you. And I will stay mean, and pathetic, and alone.

But I am not a liar. Your shit is boring. Sorry.

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