Are these shows a glimpse of what gigs could be or something of a fad? Skepta’s show, for example, met with criticism for being an airbrushed approximation of a rave. But really, if songs are about telling a story, it is natural that pop stars might want to showcase theirs in the most all-encompassing way. If they get it right, it could be incredible. Imagine a fully immersive version of Beyoncé’s Lemonade with Jay-Z begging for forgiveness in a secret room, or a multisensory version of Slowthai’s Nothing Great About Britain with all the sights, smells and … Oh, OK, maybe not. … [Read more...] about From Skepta’s dystopia to Travis Scott’s fairground: are immersive shows the future of live music?
Again, you wouldn’t know without being told. At its blandest – and, truth be told, Air could venture beyond tastefulness into pallid – Concrete and Glass is more the soundtrack to a wine bar than some piece of Le Corbusier brutalism. Time on My Hands, featuring Kirin J Callinan singing, drifts along doing almost nothing for four and a half minutes. Ditto The Foundation (sung by Cola Boyy), only it’s a minute longer and the bass pops harder. … [Read more...] about Nicolas Godin: Concrete and Glass review – a pretty facade on shaky foundations
Piano-driven ballads dominate the songwriting category, including Taylor Swift’s only big nomination. Lover is such classic American songcraft, though Lewis Capaldi’s powerful Someone Like You is the best of these ballads and it would be a British win to remember. Eilish is streets ahead in terms of songwriting innovation and should win for that “Duh!” alone. But, while Truth Hurts’ most famous lyric (“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch”) may have been plagiarised and its British author later added to the credits, Lizzo has this sewn up. The lyrics are hilarious, and it is a massively successful example of that new school of songwriting where a single melody is repeated over and over until the brainwashed public is involuntarily chanting it and then clawing hopelessly at their faces. … [Read more...] about Grammys 2020: who will win the big categories – and who should
Conceptually the show is a little muddy, because Skepta is exploring more of a utopia than a dystopia. For all the sci-fi window dressing, this is a nostalgic ideal of club culture, rather than an exploration of an unjust future world. T-shirts celebrating our dystopian state are sold at £25 a pop and mobile barmen with LED hats flashing Red Stripe wander around – it’s hard to tell whether this is a satire of rapacious commerce, or just rapacious commerce. The vibe is Secret Cinema doing a 1989 rave but replacing ecstasy with craft beer. … [Read more...] about Skepta: Dystopia987 review – flat energy in nightclub of the future
Screaming therapy is something Lennon began in 1970 after reading The Primal Scream by the American psychiatrist Dr Arthur Janov. At its simplest, the idea was that neurosis is best treated by summoning up the repressed trauma of childhood and comprehensively re-experiencing it in order to release the otherwise stored toxicity. Lennon never finished the course but some of the results can be heard on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. So we’re several years on when we meet Barry’s fictional Lennon being driven “fast and west” from the airport by the superbly drawn Cornelius O’Grady, a somewhat Mephistophelean character who will lead Lennon through a series of misadventures as bad weather and press avoidance require that they delay their trip to Dorinish Island. … [Read more...] about Beatlebone by Kevin Barry review – a darkly wry trip to Beatle Island