Review Summary: messy beautyOil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
exudes love, in ways that are immediately obvious, like the thinly veiled title ("I Love Every Person's Insides") and the very first few twinkling seconds, and ways that are not. After gliding through the first song, a gorgeous self-acceptance ballad, it transforms into something much harsher - "Ponyboy" and "Faceshopping," bangers very specifically constructed for a dancefloor and not a festival, give a metallic edge to the plastic aesthetic Sophie is known for. This contrast between sides of love is key to the entirety of the album. Like PRODUCT
before it, Oil
is a project themed on duality more than anything else. Songs often switch between industrial clanging and ambient droning, a mad fury and immediate calm. As a result, this is a tough listen, abrasive in a different, less obvious way than her previous work. At this point, her style is no longer entirely unique, so the sound doesn't shock anymore. Instead, the difficulty this time around comes from a lack of immediacy. Without the complete transparency of her previous work, she will definitely lose some of her audience.
That being said, every listener can find something to treasure. "Immaterial" is the pure bubblegum bop fans will support with their lives. "Whole New World/Pretend World" is a nine-minute climb from tense bubblegum bass synths into something approaching euphoria, an oddly calming mix between Objekt whooshes, drums, and those youtube videos of songs slowed down 800 percent. "Pretending" is straight drone, heaven reaching through the clouds at incredibly slow speeds, only glitching its way back into something grounded towards the very end. All of these tracks appeal to very different types of music listeners, so it is not clear who this is for. We know that music is made for people to enjoy, and it theoretically needs to appeal to someone. But what this album teaches us is that the contrast between moods is what makes us human, that the someone it can appeal to is anyone with instability. Many people, typically those who are misunderstood by the majority of the population, do not gradually or smoothly transition between emotions in understandable and appealingly logical ways, like we often expect music to. We shift, rapidly and wildly, in ways that surprise us, hurting and delighting us in equal measure. Whether it’s the warped infantile vocals of “Infatuation” switching immediately with Merzbow-esque ear digging of “Not Okay,” or a feeling of euphoria suddenly replaced by an unexplained depressive episode, it’s the same experience. This album, not despite but because
of these sudden shifts in mood and aesthetic, accurately captures an element of the human psyche that is often ignored by people at large and especially the music world. It is all the stronger and more vital for it.
Again, this album is about love, in its simplest, purest forms: unconditional acceptance, longing, passion. With this in mind, it is easier to understand the album, which will probably fail to fully satisfy most fans with expectations. This isn't just a compilation of all the fan favorite unreleased tracks (no "Kitty Kat" here), and it's also certainly not what any industry expectations pushed her towards. It's incredibly multifaceted, with no consistent mood, so it will not yield to planned listens. The only way to really approach this and get exactly what you want is to recognize that it's not about the traditional music listener. This album is Sophie's journey, and taking it with her is extremely rewarding. The only way we will be able to do so if is if we let go of our traditions, our notions of what makes something work and what makes it not, and take a leap of faith. This requires trust, which ultimately comes back to unconditional support and the idea of belief without evidence, which is what she has been teaching us all along. Being who we want to be and accepting our emotions as they are is not something that the average person does, and we are deeply wounded for it. This is the Oil
that we can use to heal our pain, which will hurt and relieve in equal measure. It's difficult, but it's worth it, because it's love.