My Year In Music, Unwrapped
These 12 months have been momentous for me, and music became the single reliable thing I could take anywhere – something to cling onto, to break ice with, to carry like shrunk friends in a pocket for flights and walks home. I’ve never been more aware
The Only Album That Ever Broke Me: Everywhere At The End Of Time
This is the story of how I listened to this six-hour work in one sitting, and came closer to existential dread than I think I will ever want to. Ever.
Album Review: SOS, SZA
If hell is other people, then heaven is missing them. As messy as our breakups, fallouts and moral scuffles can be, at least we know we care enough to think about those friends and partners we’ve lost. That’s clarity, maybe. Peace. We’re in love with a memory. We can reshape those relationships to suit who we are now. And now. And perhaps after a sad wank. On her second album, SZA builds hers...
Album Review: Mr Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar
I’ve never owned a diamond, won a Pulitzer or checked into a hotel that didn’t lose a star by the night I checked out. I don’t know what it’s like to sweep an awards show, blazing a trail hotter than a red carpet. I have never boosted a TV, jammed it in the trunk of a car and fled a copper siren. My bank balance remains decidedly off balance. I’ve never seen a jail, nor written about an inmate...
Album Review: RENAISSANCE, Beyoncé
When life gives you Lemonade, what do you make next? A margarita will do. “That’s how I ball,” promises Beyoncé on the intro cut to her first full-length, solo, non-soundtrack album in six years. “Cleanse me of my sins / My unAmerican life.” It’s not a stretch to believe she wants to party again. The surprise on her much heralded return to the limelight is how much RENAISSANCE clamours to make...
Louise Bourgeois and the Woven Child: Fabric, Art and Feminism
There is no natural light in the Hayward Gallery. The artworks are illuminated in a soft, artificial glow, similar to the flat light of dusk. Gallery visitors creep around in the crepuscular gloom and I watch their shadows flit across the weave of Louise Bourgeois’ fabric children.
These creations are curious and malformed. They invariably slouch or hang - anything but stand up straight - as...
Album Review: Crash, Charlie XCX
Crash’s cover makes me smile. You might prefer the deluxe take in which Charli XCX, crouched slightly further from us, is caked in blood, her hair in gore-licked strands. But I like the surreal perfection of Charli the popstar, unmarked and glamorous, cracking your windshield on a clear day. It’s as if we have driven into her unexpectedly and she’s none the worse for it. Actually, she’s comi...
Album Review: CAPRISONGS, FKA twigs
After Magdalene, her opus on feminine strength, life proved to be more unforgiving than ever.
Every Way Home: Nostalgia At The Movies
When a snake eats itself, it also cries for popcorn. The latest Spiderman outing, No Way Home, is meta even for Marvel. Marvellous?
Lost In The Word: Hip Hop And Bon Iver
Without him, part of hip hop’s journey to the mainstream wouldn’t have been as heartfelt or seductive...
The Many Lives Of Kanye West Pt. 2
According to Fitzgerald, there are no second acts in American lives. That’s probably true, unless you’re bigger than America. Kanye’s career has gone through so many ducks, pivots and sensational conclusions, we can’t help but look on as the next step could be the last, as rapt as we were almost 20 years ago. The first half of my quest to understand the man through his music brought us to 2010...
Album Review: Weather, Tycho
Great art so often comes from dark, restless places. Creative trailblazers channel inner turmoil into their work as a cathartic measure, exorcising demons through the stroke of a paintbrush or punch of a piano key.