No one has ever talked to me about Dancer Equired
. It completely and utterly exists unto me, and other contexts just seem to reinforce that sense of isolation, the bracing of critics to an album they understand in how it was made: it’s cleaner, said Pitchfork, it’s a six point something. That’s fine, and I don’t need to reroute this conversation to explain how fantastic I think the writing is on Pitchfork at the moment, but for who is Dancer Equired
going to be universal? As far as I know the two opinions that exist for it are Pitchfork’s indifference and my personal affections. In this situation context is everything between these two pieces of writing – the concise, intelligent reaction to the album’s own historical context that was made there and the long sentimental one I’m writing here. Dancer Equired
totally rips; it storms through its songs in no time, thrashing through them and only ever hitting sluggish, gross patches like “Try Harder” if they’re loud and abrasive. But to others it just rips off.
I could share “Don’t Go To Liverpool” on Facebook or on a mixtape to a friend and expect them to love it like I do, but I’ve long given up. Even if they loved the song (and it wouldn’t take long – it’s a slice of heavenly proto-indie pop, under two minutes, beautiful choruses and adorably off kilter keyboard motifs), it would probably be for different reasons. Like: which voice do you hear first, the woman’s or the man’s? Which startles you? To who would you relate the song? The idea that we’re all equal when we’re all treating ourselves as the epicentre of our favourite song is ridiculous. But I know within me that “Don’t Go To Liverpool” is a beautiful song.
The way Dancer Equired
ends is creating new content to me even now, after I’ve listened to it so many times. And I’m not talking about subtle content, stuff I’m finding with each new listen; "No Good" is a pretty vacuous song, under two minutes with a detuned acoustic guitar strummed and a voice distorted like it’s underwater. But in spite of its loudness, and its relative clarity to the rest of the album, it’s only now I’ve noticed that lyric, Beth Murphy yelping “but there is one thing that you can do”, actually existing. I think it’s always within us to overlook the clearest things, and that’s how much context matters – the idea of an album needing “further listens” isn’t about us being able to find what everyone else found in it, to accept, like hypocrites, that we’re all individuals… liking the same stuff! It’s about us creating new bonds with those albums, even the ones we’re not all that enamoured with. Now that I think about Dancer Equired
as an example, I don’t think I’d want anyone to come up to me and tell me they “get it” now. Not unless they told me how.
Seeking a universe where Times New Viking’s album is the same to everyone is a fu
cking hilarious notion. It simply does not exist, and these songs cannot be conflated into some collective consciousness that goes into them with the same intentions and indie rock ideals. Adam Thomas will probably always hate this album, if ever he chooses to listen to it, just like I will have to spend more time getting to know the Knife before I become more than a fan by proxy of my friends. And if anyone asks, I’ll tell them this shi
t’s personal, just because, well, what else do you say? It’s jangle pop and the lyrics are muffled underneath. They’re speaking Chinese to Louie. Is it a cop out to say this is my feeling in the here and now, and that I own and appropriate my context? Probably, but I’d rather hold it close to my chest than lie through my teeth and tell you that music is one thing and one to all. It’s not – it's thousands. And that is simply the best.