Review Summary: You will react to this.
Converge’s Jane Doe is an album of enormous intensity, technicality and passion, characterised by Jacob Bannon’s furious, often unintelligible vocals, blisteringly brutal guitar riffs and a rhythm section straight from multimetric hell. The lyrics and concept are emotionally charged and orientated around a failed relationship, leading to its frequent classification as an ultimate breakup album.
Beyond this, it is a unique album in several senses, primarily because it has come to occupy a position in the course of contemporary music that demands singular fixation and reaction. The question that underpins Jane Doe is whether or not it is hyperbole. To some listeners’ ears, it is a furious display of rage and pain that holds unbounded emotional value to them. For others, it’s a whole load of unrelatable noise that might as well be about nothing at all. Much has already be written from both perspectives, particularly from this side, but in my opinion the best way to consider Jane Doe at this stage is to consider the nature of hyperboles and challengingly intensities themselves, so that we might learn something that could be construed as applying to the album.
Hyperbole #1: What If?
The future could be many things, but this is certainly one of them: The emergence of world peace is now seen as a distant point in history and the last person to die from disease is now remembered as a household name. Art has become so optimistic and awe-inspiring that sarcasm and irony are dead in the water and hold no ground. Society is now such that neighbours are the next stop from family and the concept of friendship has transcended social media, which remains pragmatic but is universally seen as somewhat cheap. A career in a self-founded small business is among the most reliably successful options. The state subsidises musicians. Due to the unexpected discovery of an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source that can be mass-produced at low cost, energy bills are negligible and international travel is extraordinarily cheap, facilitating intercontinental weekend trips and boosting global tourism beyond belief. This has resulted in greater cultural awareness, meaning that tourists are both respectful and hard to differentiate from inhabitants of the lands the visit, racial tendencies aside. Multiculturalism thrives and the majority of family trees have so many nationalities and ethnicities mixed up in them that subethnicities are almost beyond count. There is an extensive swimming pool under every street with a horizontal dumbwaiter beside it, giving people the option to go to work via breaststroke. The average life expectancy is currently pushing two centuries but is rising exponentially.
Hyperbole #2: Uncertain Tension
The coffee stain on the table was well-settled. It made Freddy Someday respect it slightly and envy it drastically. Still nothing. The clock ticked on and on, each resounding second knocking gently on his ear drum in a mantra that became subtly fiercer as his heartbeat augmented its frequency and he started to sweat with varying viscosity. He should never have come here. Every sentimental ounce of his body begged him to stand up and leave. But he didn’t. He was gripped by anticipation, anticipation, anticipation, anticipation so great that it brought him close to relaxing submissively and waiting without regret. But not quite, because Freddy was far too tense to react. His muscles were so enthralled by the imminence of incoming significance that they started to contract and knot around themselves, coming very close to cramp but avoiding the overt drama. A single drop of sweat slid down over Freddy’s anxious eyebrow. A phone rang.
TOTAL DIGRESSION lackofcoh3renc2/hiprbol3 #3
Hit the highway at 200 degrees, turn laterally and puhzazz down the centre lane where all kinds of traffic show their directionally challenged faces-or-is-that-faeces-amigo?, rev the engine and then it’s suddenly more like the BYE-WAY! Ha. Superstar this novel of unending finales, only to wish that there was some teleological relevance beyond the asteroids, but never forget how you formed a Talktalktalking Heads tribute band in high school before downgrading to The Beatles and wishing you had a typewriter with a rearview MIRROR. STOP, NO MORE MIRRORS, I BEG YOU, PLEASE. Take three lefts, come out behind the grocery store and make love passionately. No, not like that, get on your knees and close your eyes like a man. Where the fuc
k is the microwave? Float to aVALON and write a review about how wrong you were to hovercraft peacefully, but don’t ever let go of the vulvar connotations of the word GO BABY GO!!! Michelangelo’s David has sweet arse and is really quite well-endowed if you consider his asset in real-terms, not in scale. If only he wasn’t so damn uncertain. Give me a protagonist, GiovanniMariaDarthvadarLaidlerDeathwarrantFish.
Hyperbole #4: Unlikely
Everything up til now has been literary. Therefore, let’s digress and consider what the following would sound like if they were ever created:
A mash-up of the music The Flaming Lips’ The Gash
layered and the vocal track from Rammstein’s Keine Lust
A faux-documentary on the hidden lives of wild hamsters, co-directed by David Lynth and Wes Anderson, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing a hamster hunter with a troubled past and a guilty conscience at the blood on his hands. The film is titled “Outback/Horde” and contains numerous hypothetical futures that masquerade as concrete pasts.
Government subsidisation of Prosecco imports in order to undercut the term ‘champagne socialism.’ This occurs in a hypothetical future in which socialists are also subsidised by the government, which is not referred to as a ‘government’ but rather as ‘our special friend’. The left and right have merged into a single progressive entity which differentiates submovements via the terminology ‘north and norther.’
Hyperbole #5: Jane Doe?
From these hyperboles, whether clichéd or original, it becomes clear that a reaction is demanded. This reaction is generally of a significant magnitude, whether it is whole-hearted rejection, ridicule or even captivation. Given that they are all fairly undeveloped and unextensive, it isn’t hard to extrapolate their reaction-provoking nature onto a work as established and thorough as Jane Doe. I personally react to it in a favourable way because I enjoy reacting strongly to hyperboles, but it is beyond dispute that Converge should be praised for providing us with such a provocative work of art.