Thursday, 21 March 2013

Beautiful Future

Where I pre-review an album based on my perception of the song titles

One of the things I miss about the Old Way of Consuming Music is the big reveal of a forthcoming album’s tracklisting. NME’s news pages used to be full of them, and they helped stoke the fires of anticipation. For there is perhaps no song more perfect then the one in your head; your own unique perception of a song before you’ve actually heard it, based on its name alone. An intriguing or evocative track name can conjure all sorts of ideas in your head, and it’s probably more fun if your vision of the song is completely wrong as you get to be nicely surprised when you do finally hear it.

As well as imagining the individual songs, you can play at sculpting the album as a piece of work. Will you stick all the slowies at the end, or mix it up a little? Where’s the 12-minute spoken-word odyssey going to fit in?

Of course tracklistings are still announced these days but due to albums leaking there’s a much shorter lead time, so it’s only a short while before the music arrives anyway. Back in The Day, a tracklisting might have to sustain you for months.

So I’m going to indulge (and it is an indulgement, if that’s even a word, so excuse me) in a bit of pre-reviewing by imaging what Primal Scream’s forthcoming album More Light will be like.

So what do I know so already? It’s produced by David Holmes and features Kevin Shields, so it’s probably akin to the noisy and aggressive XTRMNTR. This pleases me. Robert Plant’s on it too somewhere, but will he sing lead? Last time he guested on a Primal Scream song, he was demoted to harmonica duties.

The album title suggests positivity and optimism, but somehow I don’t think this album is going to offer the euphoric hit that Screamadelica did as they’re probably not off their faces on E this time*. It might be a nod to Shoot Speed/Kill Light, the closing track on XTRMNTR. Or it might be extolling the virtues of buying new light bulbs.

And I know the first track, 2013. It’s an eerie, hypnotic epic with blasts of off-kilter sax and Bobby lambasting the apathy and decay around him. But what about the rest of the album?

2. River Of Pain
This is going to be even more trippy than 2013, with freaky effects, stuttering beats and Bobby whispering creepily into your ear.

3. Culturecide
Time for a fast and heavy one, with savage guitars and punky lyrics.

4. Hit Void
A short electronic instrumental. What’s not to like?

5. Tenement Kid
Hmm, could this be Bobby baring his soul as he harks back to his youth? Might be slow, sincere and mournful.

6. Invisible City
This one will be the closest thing to a hit, with a riotous chorus and a catchy refrain e.g. We’re all trapped in the invisible city, c’mon!

7. Goodbye Johnny
Might this be Johnny Guitar from Riot City Blues? If so, expect some low-down and dirty rock n’ roll.

8. Sideman
I have absolutely no idea about this one, so let’s say Robert Plant appears on it.

9. Elimination Blues
This is going to be the densest, slowest song on the album.

10. Turn Each Other Inside Out
Another short punky one, referencing philosophers and politicians.

11. Relativity
A psychedelic instrumental with organs. Why not?

12. Walking With The Beast
Come to think of it, Robert Plant might be on this one. He looks a bit like a beast, doesn’t he? And it would make more sense to leave him until near the end.

13. It’s Alright, It’s OK
Apparently this is going to be the next single so it’ll be a shard of hope that cuts through the chaos of the previous 50 minutes.

There are some bonus songs on the deluxe edition of the album but I’ll spare you my pre-analysis of those (although Requiem For The Russian Tea Rooms sounds amazing).

Right, I think I may have just polluted your brains with 500 words of ridiculous hypothecating. The album’s out on 13 May so time will tell if I am a mentalist or a modern-day Nostradamus.

* Primal Scream’s albums fit very nicely into the theory that the character of an album is dictated by the drugs the band was consuming at the time:

E = blissed-out happiness = Screamadelica
Heroin = sludgy horribleness = Give Out But Don’t Give Up
Cannabis = twitchy paranoia = Vanishing Point
Cocaine = unfettered aggression = XTRMNTR
Alcohol = brash stupidity = Riot City Blues

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