An amazing night of watching a new generation of groundbreaking female artists pay tribute to the work and music of @yokoonoofficial who was way ahead of her time and greatly under appreciated for her talent.
Whereas last year's MASSEDUCTION was an a Friday night out - all-encompassing, all-consuming, and all-arousing. MassEducation, however, is the complete opposite – despite being constructed of exactly the same songs. Annie Clark. MassEducation is an evening drive, a neon-light in the darkness, a cocktail bar on a Wednesday. It’s the aloof, debonair younger sibling to its bloody-minded, red-blooded sister. MassEducation smokes outside. It prefers white wine to red. It’s an antidote to modernity where the original adhered to all of the rules of ‘now’. There’s no confusion: MassEducation is pure, emphatic. Clark strips all of the excess from MASSEDUCTION and bestows upon the new versions her own, sincere power. Let’s talk about the new versions. “Los Ageless” is the standout on both records. On this record, it’s a dainty, soulful piano ballad that doesn’t mess with that brain-tickling hook. By resisting the urge to change it completely, Clark shows that her instincts have remained just as sharp despite the fact that she’s spent the last year touring the hell out of these songs. The “Savior” here is, surprisingly, sexier than the original. It starts slowly, longing and aching, before building to an incredibly intense crescendo. “Pills” takes on a frazzled, deranged angle that makes you think of the earlier St. Vincent material – specifically the drugged-up Disney of Actor. On the cover of this new version, we see Clark with her back to the camera, seemingly naked: Look a bit deeper and it’s more than that. It’s actually her this time: the legs and ass on the cover of MASSEDUCTION belonged to her friend. This is Annie telling us that this version is closer to the real her, but she’s still keeping something back. She’s nude, but covered. The photo is revealing, but not necessarily erotic. It’s a magnificent cover to a magnificent record. MassEducation hangs together better than its predecessor. It’s precise
MASSEDUCTION's opening track “Hang on Me” presents Annie Clark as the restless consumer on a come down, a prologue to the excesses of thought and sex and substance that populate the record. Her voice is uncharacteristically cracked but still hopeful, begging for someone to cling to while everything crashes around her. Her fifth record, MASSEDUCTION is maximalist by definition: Lyrically, aesthetically – the all-caps, the clashing red and pink and leopard of its cover art – and musically; with Clark’s virtuosic guitar playing crashing into layer upon layer of synths and programmed beats. Every song contains sounds or ideas for ten others, as though the record might suddenly burst and multiply like spiders running from a nest. There is a complete sense of Clark at the centre: and she knows from experience that loneliness lives at the core of excess. “Los Ageless” is a near-future fable of eternal youth, its accompanying video a pastel-coloured plastic surgery nightmare. Nestled between the depictions of cage-dancing girls and endless artificial summer is the repeated refrain, “How could anybody have you and lose you and not lose their minds too?”, an explanation or an excuse: People don’t just destroy themselves – or let others destroy them – for nothing, you know. As the song fades out, her usually assured voice laments, “I tried to write you a love song,” a kind of epilogue or correction. Gender and sexuality are presented as experimental, unfixed: On “Sugarboy”, Clark proclaims, “BOYS! I am a lot like you / GIRLS! I am a lot like you,” an update of Prince’s promise that “I’m not a woman / I’m not a man / I am something that you’ll never comprehend.” The title track’s refrain of “I can’t turn off what turns me on,” is Clark embracing the unhinged elements of her sexuality, as one who has shed all the urges of adolescence, and whose control stems from her acting like a man. Instead, Clark prizes adolescent