Sylvan Paul – Drugs
Sylvan Paul’s “Drugs” attempts to give listeners a four-minute synopsis of practically all of 1980s music. It’s an anthem for kids who lived to make their parents angry but eventually became parents themselves.
Seemingly every popstar has released an autobiography. And, what are the stories that help sell a tremendous amount of copies of these books? Sex, drugs, and, hopefully, writing hits. The ones that haven’t lived such a heady life are told to make up tales or forget about an advance on their book deal.
Yes, it’s funny to read about Keith Moon driving his Rolls Royce into a swimming pool, about Keith Richard transporting more contraband across foreign borders than a Colombian drug celebrating their birthday in St. Tropez, or about some rockstars doing so much blow that their noses caved in. It’s tragic. But it’s also funny.
Just ask Sylvan Paul about it. “Drugs” reduces post-punk and the tales of excess to their inevitably delightfully humorous conclusion. Yes, you can easily sing along to this. But Paul isn’t inviting you to try this at home. In fact, it won’t take a long time to gaze at the artwork or hear the frayed vocals to make you an advocate for tea and cookies. But, for everyone that grew up reading about Richard or Moon’s antics, it’s all unashamedly fun.
Elliott James Mulhren & Vritra – Peaches
Genre: Indie Pop
Elliott James Mulhren fights against genre categorization in his collaboration with Vritra for the single “Peaches.”
Record labels are obsessed with selling records first and with artistic innovation as a distant second. This is the reason why pop hits all sound the same. It’s also the reason why big labels rarely have a budget for their artists’ sonic experiments.
Ironically, however, once one of these experiments gets to be heard and loved by enough people, it’s the same corporations that arrive ready to supply the cash. In this day and age, few have the time and resources to risk a commercial failure.
Elliott James Mulhren & Vritra’s “Peaches” is an interesting experiment because of the way that it fights to integrate as many diverse styles and sounds into a modern rap-driven pop sound. Cinematic keyboards, 90s jungle drums, and even Brazilian Tropicalia are added to the mix. If Mulhren’s goal is to fight against easy boxing in his music into a genre, then this has been achieved.