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Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

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Spiritualized - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

By Lucy Cage

Art can do what the hell it likes.

Art can mock and ridicule. Art can stomp over precious tropes with its big fat arty boots. Art can steal and appropriate and recast. Art can trash tradition and deify trash. Art can shock and horror and razzle and dazzle. Art can use violence and misery to its own ends, be those ends high or low. Art can be Grand Canyon magnificent in its righteousness or as shallow and plastic as Cher Lloyd’s reedy voice and still be Art and fuck any thoughts of what is or is not “proper”. (There’s no real, there’s no fake! Simulacra upon simulacra! Rock on, Monsieur Baudrillard!) Art can glorify or sully or spend its whole day in its knickers making mud pies out of your memories. Art can stick its tongue out at the bourgeois and piss on the vicar’s flowerbeds. Art can fire canons at pettiness or ridicule your dreams.

Art has no responsibility. Not to you, not to me and not to the starving children of Africa.

Because Art has LICENCE.

Bully for art.

Spiritualized have made another album. Their Art (it flaunts its capital, that one) is no mischievous Clockwork Alex spitting in the faces of pensioners; there’s no glee or gunfire here: Spiritualized’s Art is both slavish and somehow vicious despite its languor and shine. It feathers its nest with other people’s words (Sweet Heart Sweet Light? Seriously?!), snaffles glitter from other eras, takes Instagrams of cool and props them up among the rubble of stylistic jetsam that approximate a coherent style; less a Frankenstein’s monster of rock’s reanimated corpses than a pop-cultural Mr Potatohead. I’m too fucking appalled by this endeavour apparently being wholeheartedly earnest and not some kind of cunning Situationist jape that I’m not even going to bother matching the signifiers to their original begetters, identifying who the stoned drawl belonged to, whose those drones are, which genre’s choirs it has bribed to cross over to the Dark Side, whose lyrics (but if you see Lou Reed point him in this direction). It’s even more enervating than poking fun at Primal Scream for their look-back boredom.

The new album sounds like Spiritualized. Which means it sounds like Cool Old American Stuff. It’s well produced. It knows how to pimp out its dynamics. It can layer up the harmonies and polish shimmering chords like there’s no tomorrow (there’s only yesterday). It’s canny in its distillation of retro-chic sound. It’s not real but it knows a man who is.

I don’t give a shit about notions of authenticity. I’m not riled because Spiritualized deal in the old and think colouring cool by numbers means it gets to rub off on them in some great spiritual whoosh rather than conjure the revelatory out of their own tiny British heads. There’s nothing new anyway; even the very best, the most extraordinary, is to some extent rehashed. Art, take what you want and make it your own. I don’t care.

But if a middle-aged white man from Rugby, trailing his privilege and his money and his production vales behind him like old school ties, appropriates the experience and style and musical tropes of the vulnerable and the oppressed he had better tread extremely carefully. Yup, it’s Art-legal but is it wise? Does ripping off Gospel and Blues and liberating them casually from the weight of their history and context to use as stripped-down signifiers of someone else’s ecstatic experience just make you a douche?

The truth is that I cannot bring myself to listen to this album with equitable ears. I am not suitable, I am not qualified. Sue me. It’s not just the years of Pierce and his compatriots playing with drug and booze references as if the reality of those things was hazy sunshine and endless sex with God rather than gutters and indignity and the possibility of death in your forties, because of course the great unspoken truth about drugs is that people just do them because they make ‘em feel good. He can have that one if he must, although it makes him look a twat. (Fun isn’t the same as cool and early death is neither.) No, this time it’s the video for the new single which I loathe with a passion and which has irrevocably tainted my listening of any further output, despite the massed fawning of music writers the world over who obviously have a stronger constitution than me.

‘Hey Jane’ wears its NSFW like a smug little badge and is a 10 minute long micro-film about a black transvestite prostitute with a small and frightened child who ends up beaten to a bloody pulp by a repressed and shamed white trick. It is repellent and upsetting and I don’t care what Art is allowed to do, I don’t like it. I don’t like the fact that every fist fall, every crunch of boot on facial bones, is filmed in detail and at length. I don’t like what it appears to be saying about people. I don’t like that said whiney, white, self-pitying, copyist, imagination-free, privilege-flaunting cisman from England has used this story and these characters from waaaaaaaaaaay outside his experience, knowledge or culture as entertainment, however much Art has given him a hall pass to do so. That he thinks he can harvest grit by association. That he has licence to use such sad and graphic images of others’ sexuality and poverty and lifestyle and even death to imply his own hipness/toughness.

Hell, I don’t even like the fact that the name “Jane” has been co-opted for its associations.

Watching that video made me nauseous. I watched the last bit through clenched fists and only because I suddenly, urgently, needed to write about it. What the fuck gives an extended drone-out love song the right to use such explicit imagery to sell itself? It’s pain porn for white boys. To depict the vulnerable as worthless violence-magnets? To capitalise on the representations of other people’s misery in order to appropriate “cool”? Jesus, how many more oppressed groups do you want to exploit, guys? This video feels like is an insult to every trans person who has been punched or killed for ruffling the order of things; to every sex worker who has lived with the threat of violence in order to feed themselves or their family; to every person of colour or single parent whose lives Spiritualized think are fair game to poach or parody for a pop video.

Jason Pierce and Art have some explaining to do.

M. Jean “Everything Goes” Baudrillard might have been yawning along to Spiritualized when he said that that, “Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore” but he was wrong. The worst crime is fostering inhumanity to our fellow beings. While Spiritualized obviously aren’t as worthy targets as Nick Clegg or Mitt Romney the callousness with which they kick pain around as if it were cans in the yard repulses me.

Fuck it, Art: your licence is revoked. And Pierce: you’re a cunt.

Related posts: THE MUSIC, REVIEWED! Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

81 Responses to Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

  1. DC April 12, 2012 at 12:57 am

    :o) Whether I agree with the underlying opinion of the piece/album is irrelevant (I don’t know anything about the record as I have decided not to listen to it; just the idea of the band/Pierce holds no relevance to me any longer, despite being someone I listened to ad infinitum in my late teens/early 20s back in the ’90s). Lovely piece of writing.

  2. Joseph Kyle April 12, 2012 at 3:13 am

    i listened to the previews of the album on amazon and felt it was missing something. i still don’t know what that something may be, but lucy, your piece confirms my wisdom in passing on this one.

  3. peter April 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Firstly – great piece of writing. It goes oomph! It goes pow! You got muscle.

    Can’t help thinking Spiritualized are are a bit of an easy target. They’re not the first band to build a myth around drug use, nor, let’s face it, the first (or the last) white band to do naff things with blues / gospel (or reggae come to think of it.. in the uk there’s something truly appalling circling the airwaves featuring Joss Stone, Mick Jagger and the corpse of Bob Marley).

    In this age of superhighwayinterwebness it’s easy to forget how special bands like Spacemen 3 were in their day. They were a band, after-the-fact. But the fact was that they had cool record collections, and most teenagers had only read about the Velvet Underground, 13th floor elevators, The Fugs, german kosmiche music etc. in the mid-1980s. I first heard the first Velvets lp on a scratchy library copy that i’d waited weeks to borrow – it was inevitably disappointing, because the reality was never going to match up to the legend. In a funny way, the myth was more real, more tangible at least in Spacemen tracks like ‘Walking with Jesus’, precisely because there was something suburban and provincial beneath it all.

    In this sense, Pierce et al. were doing nothing especially different to what the Beatles and the Stones had done 20 years earlier. I’m surprised that he’s got so much mileage out of the same schtick (i always thought Kember was more inventive) but there you go. Excuse me while i jack up some benilyn whilst listening to Al Green….

  4. Robbo April 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Ha! What a load of crap. You’ve watched the video, but haven’t actually listened to the album, have you? *That* much is evident.

    ‘The truth is that I cannot bring myself to listen to this album with equitable ears’

    What a terrible pice of writing. You have no business reviewing music you’re against before you’ve even listened to it. Piss-poor and unprofessional.

    Doesn’t really give credibility to this board setting itself up as the anti-Pitchfork. At least they’re well-informed. This is just pish.

    And for the record, I don’t think it’s a brilliant record. Not yet at least. It was only made available to the world two days ago.

  5. NK April 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

    So…when are you going to actually review the album?

  6. Tom April 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Wow, I haven’t read such a vitriolic piece since Julie Burchill’s heyday. I’ve always found this band massively dull and pretentious but I couldn’t ever skewer them quite as effectively as this. I can only humbly agree.

    But I’ve heard they’re quite good live…

  7. Everett True April 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Doesn’t really give credibility to this board setting itself up as the anti-Pitchfork. At least they’re well-informed.

    That’s the funniest line I’ve read all day, Robbo. Are you a stand-up comedian in real life?

  8. Everett True April 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Man, if only Spiritualized themselves were as interesting as this review, and some of the commentary around it…

  9. Robbo April 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Why is it funny? That’s clearly your stance.

    And, no. I’m not a stand-up comedian in real life.

  10. Tom R April 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Friends,

    CB is about honesty in criticism. The best criticism is always the spawn of the reviewer’s own gloriously subjective reaction. Lucy has, in dewey, glinting, prose that I honestly wish I could inhale as I’d probably never need to breathe oxygen again, done that. It’s the sort of engagement that art calls for. It’s the wine of life, remember? Let’s get shitfaced and let it all the demons out.

    This is actually to the benefit of us punters – you get a sense for the type of person behind the review, so you intuit whether your judgments would align, and how much weight to give the review (and, let’s face it, you’ll probably pirate the thing to give it a try, assuming you still buy music).

    Really: what more can you expect from a music review? What more could you ever want from one?

  11. the pheasant April 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    “Pain porn for white boys”. Wow. Just…wow.

    Thanks for your piece, Lucy. I’m now going to buy two copies of this…one for me, and the other one will be in place of the one you will never listen to.

  12. Richard C April 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Opinions are apparently only worthwhile on the internet if they are really extreme. Why be measured and thoughtful, when you can post obnoxious crap and get a lot more click through for your money.

    I can understand why the reviewer was upset by the video, I didn’t like it much either, watched it once, probably wont be watching it again. But I can’t say I think it is taking advantage of anyone. No more than an episode of the Wire, which is lauded by seemingly everyone, right on guardian writers included, but I’ve never managed to get into it.

    As far as the stuff about privilage, it was Sonic who went to public school, not Jason. And apart from the school Rugby isn’t particularly posh.

    Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 have always been honest about their influences. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Jason is particularly good at assembling these influences into what I consider as something new and original or at least extremely well done, while you consider it pastiche. Fair enough, but that argument could have been made far more effectively rather just talking about the video and not even bothering to to talk about the songs themselves.

  13. Milsean April 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

    The only cunt around here is obviously in the middle of its period

  14. Matthew Langley April 13, 2012 at 1:20 am

    So someone made a record and a video and you hate it this much?

    Then it must be at least worth listening to.

    Thats really the bottom line of this rambling incoherent mess of a review of a promotional video of song from an album.

    All the crap aside, your framework in this review about “art” is really a tired trope and only seems to show that maybe you’ve read the comic book versions of the semiotext(e) writers.

  15. Wallace Wylie April 13, 2012 at 1:27 am

    It can only be good for the band that we’re discussing the video, cos then nobody will mention that the music sounds like Oasis covering “Twenty Flight Rock”.

  16. Scarlette April 13, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Well said, Tom R.

    Everyone is so up in arms whenever anyone reveals their “hipster” elitism by using big words or referencing Baudrillard that they totally overlook the human emotional reaction coming from this, which I applaud and think is totally valid and reasonable. It is disgusting to watch (based on the description I won’t watch this video) violence, and I wish people would get over their resentment that someone chooses to speak in a highfaluting, personal polemic style, get over the fact that it makes them feel manipulated or stupid or wrong or right or however! – and listen to a woman who is saying, he this hurts to see, this hurts my community, this hurts already oppressed people, what right do you have to do this?

    I applaud Lucy, pretentious or not, which I think it is not, as it is not pretentious if you know what you are talking about.

  17. Sarah Nash April 13, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Seems interesting to me how much time Everett Who? have to respond to comments tit for tat (is that sexist?).

    So now Everett True has a blog that 100 people read.

    I’m not into Spiritualized by the way. But you should listen an album at least once to criticise it all the way. Only watching a promo video and making statement through it and calling this nonsense a “album criticism” is just funny.

    Your successful background doesn’t give you the right to call people c*nt or write a long letter full of hate and call this bullshit “criticise”.

    This is the most weird and stupid goddamn (so called) criticism i’v seen in years.

    Well, i’m not into them but it’a good ad for your site and the album. That’s for sure.

  18. Mark April 13, 2012 at 2:16 am

    This is an interesting article. Does it boil down to an axe to grind with Jason Pierce? In the current vacuum of good music writing, is this it? As it packed full of bombast and attitude that we so miss from “the old days” (Swells, ET, Burchill etc….)?

    So:
    - All is art “Art has no responsibility. Not to you, not to me and not to the starving children of Africa.”. Yeah. Damn right.
    - Spiritualized plaigarise stuff (see 99% of Rock’n’Roll). Pierces crimes seem to be 1) wearing those influences on his sleeve and 2) taking from gospel & blues and being white and middle class (What about all the others before him, not least Led Zeppelin and many of our worthy deified MOJO acts!). They’re an interesting target for making music “canny in its distillation of retro-chic ” – as they’re not the first, and probably not the 100th of even the 2010s, let alone the rest of the 21st century.
    - He has used “sad and graphic images of others’ sexuality and poverty and lifestyle and even death to imply his own hipness/toughness.” I’m not mad on the video either, but to criticise it for that is surely odd. Doesn’t that criticise every film-maker or photographer who’s captured or re-enacted anything like this in the name of “art”? I know I’ve had moments with cinema where I’ve wondered “should they be filming/portraying this?”. Hmmm …

    But let not music be criticised by those with the biggest vocabulary, record collections or knowledge of music history . Pretty much everything in the oeuvre of Pop/Rock’n’Roll is derivative somehow. It’s got to be down to the gut feeling, not an excercise in cultural worthiness to steal or not to steal. A disection of the output not the artist or the motivations.

    If criticism is to be made of Spiritualized, then let it be on their actual music.

    Lucy, I love your vitriol. We need more. Just maybe pointed in a different direction. Or at something less harmless. Though, while basking in your vitriol, I do feel like I fell in love with you.

    When the revolution comes, JP & Spiritualized won’t be first up against the wall. Neither should they be. The list of those committing real artistic crimes is very long, I fear.

  19. Mark April 13, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I should add that I do like Spiritualized from time to time, as well as a whole host of other utterly unrelated things. I don’t however “buy into their whole gritty drug persona image thing”. When I like ‘em, it’s despite that.

  20. peter April 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

    For a webzine trying to stir up interest it seems to be working (how many hits are they getting?).
    In response to Mark’s lovely comments – there’s derivative and then there’s derivative. Today’s media-saturated age is a semiotic cluster-fuck, so if you’re going to ride a wave of signifiers, you better look like you don’t know you’re riding a wave of signifiers. Jason’s wraparound shades = i am lou reed circa 1968. The gospel backing singers = ‘You can’t always get what you want’ / primal scream / stones land.The handy-cam video for ‘Hey Jane’ = authenticity, gritty realism etc.
    There’s some man in pants at Spiritualized HQ and he’s pulled out his cigar, taken a toke, puffed and declared, ‘we is going for the lou-reed-rollin’stones’nil’by’mouth’motherfuckin’demographic and hey diddley – what do we get? But fear not, I have found a route beyond the rapine forces of capitalism and it features men (and women), with bells round their ankles with the heel-toe heel-toe and the do-see-do and the droning accordion whilst we sit and much ploughman’s pickle…

  21. housetornado April 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Terrific review, though I double dare Everett to post a good slag off by someone who hates the new Dexys LP / Kevin personally as much….

  22. housetornado April 13, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I fucking love them by the way

  23. housetornado April 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

    *Dexys, and I do thank Everett for getting me into “Don’t Stand Me Down” forever.

  24. Robbo April 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Actually, I take that back, it was cruel to compare you with Pitchfork. You’re clearly jealous and bitter of their readership and influence, so it’s unfair and out of line by me.

    Sorry.

    A more accurate comparison would be that this blog seems to be a elongated form of that short-lived column in Uncut magazine years ago, called “Sacred Cows’ in which the ‘Reaper’ would lay into bands that were ‘untouchable’ just for laughs. However, that was just one page in a magazine, and it was clearly tongue in cheek. And, while I don’t for one minute believe you mean half of what you write on this blog most of the time, the mean-spirited bile spewed by some of your writers is bordering on a poor caricature of frustrated privileged outsider kids trying to ape Lester Bangs or Hunter S. Thompson.

  25. Golightly April 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    the fact that Spiritualised are so inanely boring and bland makes this piece of writing quite amazing. How to make them sound interesting? Hire Lucy Cage. Just not sure if it’s a public service or a travesty to invite such interest upon a band that deserves so little. When a band gets so desperate for attention that they make such a video, best not to help them get any, lest they think the method a success. Also, I’m not buying the whole criticising a band for being privileged when the writer sounds like the mouth piece of middle class privilege themselves. Seems a little off and pot calling kettle… and is that not simply another form of prejudice? But it’s ok, yeah, coz they had some money in their upbringing? Inverted racism and class-ism is still a whole bunch of ‘ism’ to be adding to the world in my opinion. Is that something you want to be standing for?

    And to the person who suggested that Lucy must be on her period for being angry and having attitude in this piece, I personally owe you a punch in the face. And no, it’s not because it’s that time of the month, it’s because you are a sexist piece of shit who could do with being shamed for their publicly vented opinions about women. And it makes you sound like a guy who can’t get laid… just sayin.

  26. Charley Stone April 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    This is a great piece of writing. I may or may not agree with it all – doesn’t matter, shouldn’t ‘ave to. I have nothing to add to the “debate” except that the debate gets on my nerves. I miss the days when people had to write a letter if they were annoyed about a review. I just want to read great writing, get fired up, get other ideas sparked off in my brain, talk to people about it maybe, y’know. That kind of thing.

  27. Lucy Cage April 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Hi! Re ” Also, I’m not buying the whole criticising a band for being privileged when the writer sounds like the mouth piece of middle class privilege themselves. Seems a little off and pot calling kettle… and is that not simply another form of prejudice?”

    I’m not criticising Spiritualized for being privileged: they can’t help who they are. I’m saying that when people who are pretty much top of the heap in the global privilege stakes (in terms of their race, country of origin, gender, sexuality, class, even their profession) make a promotional film to market their pop song they had better be extremely careful about using images of violence against people who are pretty much bottom of the privilege heap. Because unless they handle the whole thing with considerable sensitivity it looks like exploitation. On those terms, I reckon their status matters.

    Anyone want to try convincing me otherwise?

  28. peter April 14, 2012 at 12:32 am

    As you suggest – it boils down to questions of representation – perhaps most pertinently, what is this representation for and who is doing the representing? I notice that it was commissioned by a woman, if directed by a man.

    Spiritualized have never really been the most edgy of bands, have they? Even if most of Pierce’s music deals with drugginess, it’s more about music about drugginess than drugginess itself. Hence the rather clumsy Lou Reed reference in the title ‘Hey Jane’ (could be Jane’s Addiction’s ‘Jane Says’ as well I guess).
    As ever, the music references the Velvets in it’s chuggy minimalism.
    I suppose Pierce’s one original contribution is to graft soul / gospel stylings over the top (he’s being doing this since ‘Ladies and Gentleman..’, for which he was heralded as some sort of a genius at the time).

    The video is obviously there to give the band the sort of edgy ‘real’ credentials they’ve always lacked (and obviously create some sort of a furore). It does seem to backfire spectacularly – not least because you can’t escape the thought of Jason Pierce being behind it all, nor the thought that it’s all supposed to make you hide behind your copy the guardian in liberal outrage.

    You could argue that since the white male character is represented in an almost wholly unsympathetic light, the rather shoddy gender and race stereotyping is ameliorated slightly. But on the whole it reads to me as Tim-nice-but-dim does Boyz-in-the-Hood without the politics and a bit of maudlin sentiment…

  29. AttF April 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “I’m saying that when people who are pretty much top of the heap in the global privilege stakes make a promotional film to market their pop song they had better be extremely careful about using images of violence against people who are pretty much bottom of the privilege heap.”….says who? did those who you assume to be on the bottom of the privilege heap ask you to be their blonde-haired/fair-skinned defender? seems like a pretty huge assumption on your end.

  30. peter April 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    The demographic who buy music by Spiritualized are predominantly white, male and middle-class (correct me if i’m wrong). The question you have to ask is , why use a video like ‘Hey Jane’ to sell to this demographic?

    Similarly, is the song some kind of social critique, and if so, is it effective and are Spiritualized in a position to deliver such a critique effectively?

  31. Golightly April 15, 2012 at 12:49 am

    “I’m not criticising Spiritualized for being privileged: they can’t help who they are.” well Lucy this is a self defeating quote if ever I read one. Because what it amounts to is that you are saying that if they are privileged then they are not entitled to their opinion of the under privileged… which obviously is nonsense.

  32. Golightly April 15, 2012 at 12:52 am

    And since when did artists have to BE their subjects? What about all the famous painters who painted prostitutes? Were their paintings less valid because they came from a different class and were not prostitutes or female themselves? It’s quite fair for you to find their art offensive and distasteful, but to qualify it sounds closed minded and elitist of you.

  33. Lucy Cage April 15, 2012 at 3:01 am

    “Because what it amounts to is that you are saying that if they are privileged then they are not entitled to their opinion of the under privileged”

    That’s really not what I am saying at all. I spend a good chunk of the piece talking about the licence of artists to talk about whatever and whoever they want, in whatever manner they want. However, the way I react to it is my subjective opinion and, in my subjective opinion, Jason Pierce has made himself look like a twat and nothing anyone has said has yet convinced me otherwise.

    (I really don’t buy the argument that portraying – without any other discourse on the subject – a mediated version of transphobia in a heavily-stylized pop promo will reduce it happening out in the “real” world but it’s the closest anyone’s come so far to an argument against my ‘Pierce as twat’ theory.)

  34. peter April 15, 2012 at 3:29 am

    Most rock stars look like twats lucy. They’re peddling authenticity after all, bless ‘em. Something that pop stars never have to worry about…

  35. Lucy Cage April 15, 2012 at 3:30 am

    ” It’s quite fair for you to find their art offensive and distasteful, but to qualify it sounds closed minded and elitist of you.”
    Sorry, you’ll have to clarify that! Why is it elitist to bring the relative class/race/gender/sexuality/status/employment etc. of the subject and the beneficiary into a critique of a commercial piece of art, to question the effect that has on the way people react to both the music and the way it is being marketed? I’d think it would be more elitist to pretend that such things didn’t matter?

  36. peter April 15, 2012 at 4:10 am

    i still can’t believe that all of this debate is centred on a band that have never really excited extreme passions. i think you’ve actually hit on something deeper and far more widespread in the genealogy of rock music. Images of social exclusion or vulnerability have been a short-hand for authenticity in rock since the hey-day of the Stones (the quintessential middle-class boys gone black-face minstrels). I think it’s a bit harsh to castigate Pierce alone for what is essentially an act of pastiche, disingenuous though it seems. it’s safe music – and i guess the video is merely a misguided attempt to occupy the same sleazy world as ‘transformer’ era Lou Reed.
    There’s much more fresh and exciting music to focus on out there – not least all the juke-related music spreading like wild-fire through the dance and electronica scene – though this too has a problematic relationship with gender issues. perhaps yyou need to be casting your net a little wider?

  37. Everett True April 15, 2012 at 6:01 am

    perhaps yyou need to be casting your net a little wider?

    That’s right, Peter. This is the only band, the only record, we’ve ever discussed on Collapse Board. Glad you spotted it.

  38. Richard c April 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

    So out of interest, in how many articles have you called the artists cunts?

  39. Everett True April 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

    You ever heard of something called “Google”, Richard? It’s all the rage these days, or so I’m told.

    Apparently what you do is type in a word, or a combination of words, into a box on a “computer screen”, press Enter (it’s the big button on your keyboard to your right) and, a few seconds later, your “computer screen” changes and loads of suggested “links” to various “websites” appear in place of the box.

    If you’re still a little unsure about this, maybe you could ask a grown-up to help.

  40. Golightly April 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Lucy, you spoke about artistic licence a lot but you also spoke of revoking the licence and it sounded like it was due to the artists being a different demographic to the one they portrayed in the video. Re-read my point. You clearly missed it.

  41. Joshua April 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Nice, a Cultural Studies undergrad thesis masquerading as an album review and serving as an infomercial for how clever you think you are. I’ll admit, I never expected to click into a Spiritualized review and get a Bob Avakian speech instead. Unfortunately, an album review written by someone who refuses to listen to the album reads a bit like a jargon-laden attempt to cover up someone not doing their homework. Nicely done, though. Your misdirected angst was very prettily packaged. I’m sure poor Pierce is wounded to the core. Calling Pierce a cunt? Jason Pierce? Talk about your First World problems.

  42. Everett True April 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    a Cultural Studies undergrad thesis

    I would fucking KILL for a Cultural Studies undergrad thesis like this. Or, indeed, for other music criticism like this. Sadly, the trolls crawling out the woodwork and from underneath the bridge, smug and outraged and occasionally pathetic and misogynistic in the safety of their blanket anonymity, prefer all discussion around music to be as bland as shite. Rather like the music they listen to, now I think on it.

  43. Everett True April 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Also, I’ve noticed that when most people refer to critics not “doing their homework” what they really mean is that the critic hasn’t (badly) paraphrased the press release, leaving them a little frightened and confused at the notion that someone might think differently to themselves.

  44. peter April 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Everett, surely the amount of discussion generated by Lucy’s review is a good thing? Most of it doesn’t seem to be ‘trolling’ to me, but on the other hand…
    I’ve successfully avoided doing some work by obsessively posting to an Australian website about a band I haven’t listened to in 15 years. My wife is looking concerned. Apologies.

  45. Joshua April 16, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Actually, I’m quite sure that by ‘not doing their homework’ I meant that the album review was written by someone who hadn’t listened to the album. The words you used to describe my post and the posts of others, such as trolling, pathetic, mysogynistic, smug, could all be applied to the “review” itself, as well as your oddly fanatical championing of the “critic’s” cause. As to hiding behind the Internet, well, I’m just a social worker from Indiana. I guess I should defer to your obvious superiority when it comes to what is bland or not bland. Fool that I am, though, I listen to the heady intensity of a track like “No God Only Religion” from L&G and compare that to the musical output of one Mr. Everett True and find Pierce the winner. Again, I’m no one of note, so I’ll assume that you folks are correct in your relentless pedantic obscurantism. I will be buying “Sweet Heart Sweet Light” on Tuesday though, for the main reason that I think Spiritualized makes compelling music. Perhaps one day I’ll join your elite ranks and adopt the ironclad “good taste” and hellfire tone you seem to admire so much, but until then I’ll just have to keep listening to the tunes I love. We’ll have to agree to disagree for now. I have to say though Mr. True, you really aren’t doing much to reinforce the review’s credibility with the comments you’re making, as anyone with any sense of measure can tell. Perhaps you should try a different voice.

  46. Lucy Cage April 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

    “Calling Pierce a cunt? Jason Pierce? Talk about your First World problems.”

    Joshua! Complaining about someone writing about a band on a music site by playing the “First World Problems” card?! Oh dear.

    Out of interest, would you prefer reviewers stuck to looking stupid? God forbid anyone try using critical theory jargon when writing about music in case you think that they’re doing it to show off! Tsk, tsk. This is why Liam Gallagher ended up a rock star.

    PS. I’m not covering up “not doing my homework”. This is the internet: no-one set any homework. I can write about whatever the fuck I like in whatever way I like. You can chose not to read it.

  47. Lucy Cage April 16, 2012 at 6:46 am

    “Lucy, you spoke about artistic licence a lot but you also spoke of revoking the licence and it sounded like it was due to the artists being a different demographic to the one they portrayed in the video. Re-read my point. You clearly missed it.”

    But it’s not simply about the relative mismatch of status; it’s about what is done with it. It’s about the realities of social and economic power structures. It’s about who is being portrayed and in what way and who is benefiting from it (whether that’s in terms of cool brownie points or actual financial rewards). Who’s using who. THAT, to me, is what makes Pierce look like a twat, not just the bare facts of what demographic he belongs to.

    And obviously I can’t revoke anyone’s artistic licence, however much of a knob they are. (I don’t have the necessary authority; I’d have to apply in writing to Leonard Cohen himself.)

  48. Everett True April 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

    “Fool that I am, though, I listen to the heady intensity of a track like “No God Only Religion” from L&G and compare that to the musical output of one Mr. Everett True and find Pierce the winner.

    I’m interested. I have around 600-1,000 unreleased songs recorded with a variety of conspirators on my external hard drive. And that’s from the last 10 years only. How have you managed to listen to these? Should I be notifying the relevant authorities?

    In terms of intensity, imagination, melody and sheer innovation, I’ll put my body of musical work up against that of Jason “Lou Reed” Pierce, any fucking time.

    You might choose to differ, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve heard the work of Pierce and True, and you haven’t.

    You’re making two fundamental errors here, Joshua.

    1. You’re treating music like it’s a competition. It isn’t. It’s way more important than that.
    2. To use your own piss-weak analogy, not only haven’t you done your fucking homework but you haven’t even bothered enrolling in the fucking course. Do some basic fucking research and then make your asinine fucking comparisons if you have to.

  49. Joshua April 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Treating musIc like a competition? All snark aside, I don’t see where you get that at all. If I treated it like a competition I surely wouldn’t admit that the last vinyl LP I bought was Springsteen’s “The River” or that I still pull out my Kula Shaker CDs from time to time. You’re the one spending time brow beating every poster who disagrees with you. As to music being soooo important, are you really serious? We’re talking about fucking pop music for christ’s sake, not Shostakovich. If you make such amazing “unreleased” music then why don’t you piss off and listen to it yourself. You remind me of an old university roommate of mine. Look on the bright side, you’re a perfect hipster dream. “Hey, my name is Everett True. My favorite band is Everett True, but you’ve probably never heard of them, because I’m the only one who has.” You guys seriously don’t see the irony of having the slogan, “We criticize because we care.” when you don’t care enough to listen to the actual album you’re trying to criticize? You honestly don’t? I haven’t enrolled in the class? I’m a dude with fucking ears. The whole world is enrolled in the class. From where I’m standing you’re entire rebuttal of my comments seems to consist of you describing your own attributes but attributing them to me. It makes for some tedious reading brother.

    Lucy, you’re correct. It’s your party and you can cry if you want to. The difference between us is that you call your rant a “piece” while I am perfectly willing to let mine be a plain old comment. You two are Mike and Ike. I’ll tell you what, I’ll keep listening to my bland derivative music and stick to the more reputable reviewers in the future, you keep taking potshots to drive up hit counts and looking for the next teacup tempest to get yourself lathered up about, and Everett True can keep listening to Everett True, hoping for an Everett True reunion tour, and reminiscing about the good old days before Everett True’s mom started listening to Everett True so the only fan of Everett True was Everett True.

  50. Everett True April 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Treating musIc like a competition? All snark aside, I don’t see where you get that at all.

    Fool that I am, though, I listen to the heady intensity of a track like “No God Only Religion” from L&G and compare that to the musical output of one Mr. Everett True and find Pierce the winner.

    Idiot. Beyond parody. Idiot. (Especially when you consider you haven’t even heard one of the musicians in your competition.)

    ————————————–

    So. Let’s get this straight. If you haven’t heard of a band or musician, it must be the band or musician’s fault. Not yours.

    Interesting approach.

  51. Everett True April 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Hey Joshua, here’s a tip that I offered one of your fellow Contemporary Indie fans, earlier in this thread. Just in case you were wondering how to find out about musicians or artists or politicians …. anyone, really … whose names might be unfamiliar to you. You don’t mind if I repeat it verbatim, do you? It really might open up entire new worlds for you, a Kula Shaker fan.

    You ever heard of something called “Google”? It’s all the rage these days, or so I’m told.

    Apparently what you do is type in a word, or a combination of words, into a box on a “computer screen”, press Enter (it’s the big button on your keyboard to your right) and, a few seconds later, your “computer screen” changes and loads of suggested “links” to various “websites” appear in place of the box.

    If you’re still a little unsure about this, maybe you could ask a grown-up to help.

    Maybe you could you use it when you next comment upon other “websites”? You might find that other moderators aren’t so understanding as we are when it comes to idiots who start flame wars, contradict themselves in the middle of them and then take smug delight in parading their ignorance.

    Just a tip, that’s all.

  52. Richard C April 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    “You ever heard of something called “Google”? It’s all the rage these days, or so I’m told.

    Apparently what you do is type in a word, or a combination of words, into a box on a “computer screen”, press Enter (it’s the big button on your keyboard to your right) and, a few seconds later, your “computer screen” changes and loads of suggested “links” to various “websites” appear in place of the box.

    If you’re still a little unsure about this, maybe you could ask a grown-up to help.”

    Blimey so you thought that was so amusing it was worth repeating twice? Perhaps you should employ the skills of a competent editor.

    Nevertheless, inspired by your tutelage, I searched! Amazon for your music. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=everett+true&x=16&y=18

    Ah. I’m looking forward to the 500 song boxset. When does it actually come out?

    The other search I tried was this https://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=everett+true+cunt

    Really don’t have time to read 5.7 million hits this morning though.

  53. Everett True April 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Wow. There aren’t half some idiots out there. And most of them seem to be listening to Spiritualized.

  54. Joshua April 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Hey Everett True, did you hear the new Everett True track, “I take quotes out of context and use them to make sweeping over generalizations about another’s position, thereby creating a straw man I can knock down.” It isn’t a very catchy title. You want to know what is really beyond parody?

    “You’re treating music like a competition. It isn’t. It’s way more important.”

    “I’ll put my body of musical work up against Jason “Lou Reed” Pierce, any fucking time”

    Pot and kettle, anyone? Hey, is the song “I’m so fucking clever I should post the same comment multiple times” going to be on the upcoming Everett True collection “Unreleased Masterpieces too Cool to Release”? You must be one industrious dude, my friend. How do you find time to write 500-1000 ultra cool songs, frantically hide them from record companies for fear of them being released, and still have time left over to argue with people on the Internet?

  55. Joshua April 17, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I think you should do an Everett True remix album with the Venetian Snares called “Masterpieces I Almost Released but Decided Not at the Last Second.”

    I don’t think the artist is to blame for a listener to have never heard of him, but I also don’t think you can blame the listener for not having heard of every pretentious loser who happens to have musical aspirations.

  56. Mark Donaldson April 17, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Do we know what Cage has written here is really what she believes, or has she simply written down a list of viewpoints, put a blindfold on, pointed at one and gone for it. The structure of this piece would indicate she enjoys a challenge, so it would not surprise me if she has done something similar to the latter. Perhaps Spiritualized did the same in creating their “10-minute long micro-film about a black transvestite prostitute with a small and frightened child who ends up beaten to a bloody pulp by a repressed and shamed white trick”.

    Was Cage (and Spiritualized) just saying “what the hell, let’s give this a crack”? It doesn’t matter either way, but it’s fun to consider.

    Cage (and Spirtualized) can claim victory because the work succeeded in building multi-level chatter. If she’d written about the ‘music’ (if Spiritualized had played it safe), no one would have cared. This piece is hardly even about a band or an album. It’s questioning art, using Spiritualized as a spring board. Cage (and Spiritualized) wanted to prompt a discussion that was able to go beyond ‘just music’.

    But what would Collapse Board be if it wasn’t for the hilarity of irate readers missing the point? I do enjoy the dimwittedness of people who come to this page knowing they’re going to be reading something they’ll hate and then criticise writers for hating on something they’re inclined to hate.

    “How dare you criticise something you knew you were going to hate!”, said the web users who just read something they knew they were going to hate.

  57. Everett True April 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

    “How dare you criticise something you knew you were going to hate!”, said the web users who just read something they knew they were going to hate.

    Yeah, especially when you consider that most of them came here via message boards which flagged up precisely how much they were going to hate.

  58. Tom R April 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Well said, Mark.

  59. Ian April 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Well, that is a strong opinion indeed Lucy. Now, here is mine.

    I am a huge Spiritualized fan but have no interest at all in your opinion of them.

    My main concern is your right on, left wing politics which reflect those of an angry sixth form student which you flaunt like some badge of politically correct honour. In fact it is comical.

    Point 1 – You consistantly return to comment on “middle class white boys”, “British”, and errr, “white boys” again which you seem to consider acceptable. Tell me Lucy, if Jason Pierce and the majority of his fanbase was Pakistani, would you be using words like “Pakistani boys” and “brown boys”? No, I think not.

    Point 2 – Your use of the phrase “Person of colour” is cringeworthy. Why do you insist on showing your politically correct credentials in this way? Are you also the sort of person who says “chalk board” instead of “blackboard”?

    Point 3 – How can you rip off a music genre? Your quote “ripping off gospel and blues” again further embarrases you. Would you critisize say, Iggy Pop for ripping off rock and roll? Would your critisize say, Leonard Cohen for ripping off folk? In fact, would you critisize Elvis Presley for ripping of gospel and blues? Do you get my point Lucy?

    Point 4 – Your obvious unflinching, intolerant, overtly liberal and left wing view point actually makes you right wing. You are convinced your own point of view is right and do not consider the motives and interests of others.

    Point 5 – You call Mr Pierce a cunt. Because you are female and he is male, does that make your labelling of him in this way acceptable? I tell you what Lucy, you are a cunt.

    Now, what you should really be doing is heading up your sixth form debating society or doing reviews for your college bookclub (reviewing only the intellectually stimulating works of course). I think you would be great at that as your writing is actually very good.

    It is a shame that you seem to not be comfortable letting others express their thoughts, feelings and emotions which is what Jason Pierce has done with this record. He is doing what he loves and believes in and how can you critisize anyone for that? You don’t have to like it but to critisize and mock in this way is most un-politically correct of you.

  60. Tom R April 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Jung would call this a synchronicity – the Quietus’ review says the piss-poor lyrics of “Hey Jane” ‘wouldn’t pass muster on a Kula Shaker record’ …

  61. Everett True April 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    “Hey Jane, where you going today? You lit a fire and you fanned the flames! They say you’re out of control. I say you’re on a roll!”

    I reserve the right for Collapse Board’s contributors to “critisize” and mock Jason Pierce whichever way they damn choose.

  62. Richard C April 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Jung would call this a synchronicity – the Quietus’ review says the piss-poor lyrics of “Hey Jane” ‘wouldn’t pass muster on a Kula Shaker record’

    I was going to post the Quietus review as a good ‘bad’ review. Now that’s the way to write a negative review. Much more effective and damning. I’m a fan but can’t argue with the ‘Lyrical Egotism’ for a start. The reviewer also nails the excessive use of religious terminology. Far less angry comments on their review than this one,I guess because its been written by someone who’s listened to the record.

  63. Lucy Cage April 18, 2012 at 2:57 am

    “I am a huge Spiritualized fan but have no interest at all in your opinion of them.”
    Coulda fooled me.

  64. Ian April 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Yes Lucy, that is correct. I have no interest in your opinion on Spiritualized, as you can see from my original post where I do not try to defend them or challenge your comments regarding their music in any way.

    As anyone who read my post will, I think, agree, my issue with your review was your holier than thou politically correct posturing which I found nauseous.

  65. driveby_superfly April 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    @Lucy Cage
    Fantastic piece of music journalism. Keep writing conscious, fearless analysis like this. Laugh your ass off at all the hoity-toity, huffy-puffy haters who can’t see your point from behind their privilege barricades.
    Have fun and go loud.

    Site bookmarked, link shared.

  66. Robbo April 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    You see, If you had written a nice, middling review, nobody would have taken any notice.

    Now, about 20 people have read this, a further 6 have discovered Everett’s blog. I’ve passed it onto a few people who couldn’t get past the first paragraph.

    Still, YOU GOT HITS!!!! REAL INTERNET HITS!!! For Everett’s blog.

    The writer gets reviled/commended in equal measures. All exposure.

    Everyone’s a winner!

    Well done to all involved.

  67. Everett True April 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    A common trait among Internet trolls is that they have to – just have to – have the last word. Just wait…

  68. Penelope Arnold April 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    “I reserve the right for Collapse Board’s contributors to “critisize” and mock Jason Pierce whichever way they damn choose.”

    There’s goes Everett True, implying this is actually his site.

    The Howard Hughes of music criticism and anyone with an alternate opinion comprises the microscopic “germs” of his psychosis.

  69. MyrtleMouth April 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    “God forbid anyone try using critical theory jargon when writing about music in case you think that they’re doing it to show off!”

    The fact that you employ critical theory jargon & concentrate solely on the politics of the record — instead of discussing emotion, musicianship, etc. — illustrates what a superficial, intellectual-wank-prone writer you are.

    I’d also bet my left nut that you don’t actually know a goddamned thing about the history of the music — gospel, blues — that you’re so valiantly defending from your own ivory tower of privilege.

    And stop flailing pathetically in the comments section. If you actually believe in your nonsense review, shut up and let speak for itself.

    P.S. Cunt and twat and douche — ow provocative. Especially when sprinkled amidst critical theory jargon! An original voice of a generation, you are.

  70. Neil Kulkarni April 19, 2012 at 12:31 am

    All you people dissing Lucy can fuck off. She’s my sister from another mister, she’s ace and this review makes me all kinds of happy. So there (I would engage in lengthy discussion with Lucy-haters but don’t want to breathe in your particles)xxxx

  71. Navarre April 19, 2012 at 6:13 am

    What about AG Rojas? What do you know about him and his life. Methinks Criticism can do whatever the hell it likes. A musicians album reviewed for its connection to the work of the video artist a track from that album is associated with. The more interesting thing for me here is why you seem to want to hold the borders of the territory you’ve marked out for yourself via violence and force. You lob useful words, like cisman perhaps, as missiles. This review is so far away from what it’s reviewing that it is only a portrait of your own insecurity, all the things you hate about yourself, written large across a page. Your fear of being boring, of being intolerant and ignorant, your fear of being average. It puts the review itself in a slightly awkward position, you have used Spiritualised to render your own psychology palpable, regardless of its real meaning, you have appropriated without thought, and so the review is only a critique on itself. The paradox of assertion. I enjoyed reading this piece, I will consider it Art and not criticism, it was like a punk piece, a poem of self-hatred, it’s music notes binary code and HTML.

  72. Robbo April 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Everett Unfriended me from Facebook because I had the temerity to disagree with the sycophant writer of the above review without having listened to the album.

    For a writer who has positioned himself as a petulant, schlock journo for over 20 years, I found this a tad strange. Petulant even. I thought you welcomed comments, or do you only want people to pat you on the back.

    You seem too sensitive to be on the internet. Disable comments if you can’t handle them. Mine was fair, given the provocation you seem to thrive on. No swearing, no personal name-calling, just a plain disagreement.

    Can’t say I’m arsed to be honest. My timeline isn’t cluttered up with badly-written music ‘critic’ balls every 5 minutes. Just thought I’d drop by to thank you. I posted your blog in my group from time to time for people to laugh at. There’s another 50-odd people that won’t be reading again. Because I’m fucked if I’m going to stick it in my address bar…

    Keep up the good work. It’s some community you’ve got here…

  73. Everett True April 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I unFriended you from Facebook, you twat, because you’re quite clearly not a friend of mine. Duh. And I’m fucked if I’m going to allow you to troll me on my own personal Facebook page as well as on Collapse Board.

    And … wait a second. First you’re saying that I’ve positioned myself as a “petulant, schlock journo” and then you’re complaining that I’ve behaved in a petulant way. D’oh!

    Spiritualized really do attract their fair share of idiots. I wonder why that could be. Bring back the Gotye fans, I say. At least they were amusing.

  74. Robbo April 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Do you not welcome comments from the other hundreds of people who are ‘clearly not your friend’? too. I enjoyed reading some of the stuff on your little blog. Shame.

    Nice name-calling by the way.

    I’m a ‘twat’. And an ‘idiot’. For daring to disagree. Would you prefer a little army of arse kissers? Don’t answer that…

    ‘D’oh’ and ‘duh’ too. This is from a critic in his 50s. Come on, you’re a writer, you can do better.

    Again, you seem to be under the false impression that anyone who disagrees with your fake reviews is a ‘troll’. This blog is the word ‘troll’ in essence.

  75. Tim Clarke April 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Taking these comments away from name-calling for just one moment, I’d like to offer my two-penneth. What this piece seems to boil down to is that Lucy found the video to the new Spiritualized single offensive and unpleasant, then judged the new album on that basis. So what if it’s not strictly an album review? It’s enraged and eloquent.

    I’m surprised no one has used the phrase ‘torture porn’ yet. The way Lucy describes it, it sounds like the video is part of this recent trend of depicting hideous acts of human cruelty in the name of art. I don’t want to see the video, regardless of the controversy that’s been stirred up. In much the same way, I will never watch The Human Centipede or A Serbian Movie. There’s far too much cruelty in the world. I don’t want to watch senselessly violent scenes or films that seem to attract attention ONLY because they depict acts of cruelty that are more and more extreme.

  76. flux April 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    It’s like Tarantino said , “you wanna talk about the movies ? , we’ll talk about the movies . You wanna talk about real life? , we’ll talk about real life .

    Since when did art have anything to do with morality ?

  77. Azza April 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    “You see, If you had written a nice, middling review, nobody would have taken any notice.

    “Now, about 20 people have read this, a further 6 have discovered Everett’s blog. I’ve passed it onto a few people who couldn’t get past the first paragraph.

    “Still, YOU GOT HITS!!!! REAL INTERNET HITS!!! For Everett’s blog.”

    She’s done with the review exactly what she accused Jason Pierce of doing with the video. It’s what they call Marketing.

  78. Everett True April 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Since when did art have anything to do with morality ?

    Read this review closely, did you Flux? No. I didn’t think so.

    The first 200 words talk about EXACTLY this.

  79. Everett True April 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    She’s done with the review exactly what she accused Jason Pierce of doing with the video. It’s what they call Marketing.

    I sure as fuck hope you’re not taking a course in this Azza. Cos if you are, you sure as fuck have failed.

  80. Azza April 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Been failing for a while then. You swear a lot.

  81. Everett True April 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Been failing for a while then

    It seems so. Makes one wonder why you bother commenting about something you know fuck all about, really. Still, troll’s got to do what a troll’s got to do, right?

    Comments are disabled on this post until the trolls go back to hiding underneath whichever bridge they dragged themselves out from (e.g. Spiritualized fan forums). It’s got really tired now, people commenting on the article without reading it first. Rude, as well.