Diamonds, Pearls
by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Tierra Whack - "Hungry Hippo"
Tierra Whack - "Bugs Life"
Tierra Whack - "Black Nails"

I wanted to write about Drake. I keep trying to listen to Drake, I keep trying to think about Drake. But honestly? It's like 800 degrees outside. Even here in the air-conditioned indoors, the whole enterprise just feels smothering. 25 tracks! Are you kidding me? Like a wall of angry text messages that keeps coming and coming - even after you put your phone down, even after you tell him you're at work, even after you say please and fuck you and okay, okay, okay, I'm sorry, fine, can we please just talk about this later? And still there's 15 more to work through.

This, I guess, is the not the dark but the exhausting side of the gorgeous, goofy, Ginuwine-tinged thirst that Aubrey's persona throws off in its best single moments. The sheer volume of content on Scorpion - all this A-side/B-side shit, all this empty title talk of feelings-plural - is just this dude trying literally every trick he knows to get a grip on your attention so he can twist it back around towards him. Like a little kid mashing all the buttons in an elevator. Hey. Hi. Hey sexy. Hello? Why are you mad at me? What about all the bad stuff you did to me? This is stupid. Why don't you just come over? What are you doing right now? What are you wearing? Are you ignoring me? Can we please just talk? Hello? Hello? HELLO?????

Maybe that's just how I feel about this album right now, or maybe it's how I feel about Drake in 2018, or maybe it's how I feel about Drake in a heatwave: that the only good reason to enter into a relationship with someone like the person at the centre of his stories is that it's fun, and the second it starts to feel like work you have got to cut your losses and duck back out into the sunshine. Leave him to his darkened studio, his blue-black beats, his endlessly deepening mythology of him; let him tell all those same stories to someone who hasn't had time to get tired of them yet. Probably, though, I'll feel different about it in a few weeks - when I've cooled down a little, when my patience rebounds.

In the meantime, Tierra Whack provides an antidote so perfect it almost seems too perfect. It's not fair to compare her complex, freaky, singular project to some dude's eight-hour double-sided Song Of Himself, but if you happen to listen to Whack World for the first time the same way I did - right after you listen to Scorpion for the third or fourth - it's hard not to notice everything this album has that that one lacks. Each of its fifteen tracks is exactly one minute long, and like a good poem, each one is a completely self-contained galaxy of mood and style and voice and subject; a tiny space that feels infinitely vast both in spite and because of what constrains it.

Whack's voice doesn't sound the same on any song as any other, and yet this whole thing sounds like her. She never repeats herself, and she's certainly not trying to prove anything to you except that whatever she has to say deserves your attention. This is not just an album - it's a collection, the kind that gives off a double glow: first each object on its own, and then the thing they do when you string them together. A handful of crystals, cartoon-coloured, charged and ready to change you. Something really and truly unreal.

Watch all of Whack World here.

Posted by Emma at July 3, 2018 10:00 AM

Emma!! so good to see a new post pop up on StG.

and thank you for sharing these tracks! something about short songs feels like perfect heatwave music—reminds me of listening to Moss Lime on repeat a few summers ago.

Posted by Brennan at July 3, 2018 4:55 PM

thanks. Good to have STG return with good music and good commentary.
Welcome back!

Posted by J at July 4, 2018 11:11 PM

Exactly what I needed today. Thank you.

Posted by Lindsey at July 6, 2018 11:20 AM


Posted by asta at July 8, 2018 10:27 PM

HI FRIENDS! Thank you for your kind words - I'm very very happy to be back.

Posted by Emma Healey at July 8, 2018 11:54 PM

Thank you for the Tierra Whack introduction and the reminder of why I dumped my ex. Two great things!

Posted by BRT at July 18, 2018 10:06 AM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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