Push Pull
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.


The Weeknd - "Often"

Dudes (well-meaning dudes! good dudes! almost always dudes!) will want to talk to you about The Weeknd, the same way they always want to talk to you about Drake. You will be trying to articulate the strange topography of goosebumps these songs bring out along the back of your neck and they will be all how do you like this or what's the appeal or I cannot stand this guy's Whole Thing or I think the faux-sensitive self-destructive swagger is toxic and shitty and so don't you why don't you why why why why?

These are not necessarily bad questions, but this is one of those spots where the patriarchy has wrecked everything for all of us, brutal- and thoroughly. Here's the trick: when you're forced to meet the world as a woman or a man first instead of just as a person, you've always got to be explaining stuff or fighting back against it, to be forming consistently definite opinions that line up perfectly with the thing you ostensibly are - a woman, a man, a feminist, a good one. The more you're forced to meet the world this way, the better you get at overcoming. You learn to turn away from being overcome.

People (well-meaning people! great people!) sometimes forget how lucky it is to be able to enjoy and dwell and fuck around in the tension between opposing forces - that allowing yourself to get carried away by art that doesn't necessarily jibe with your ideas about how the world should be is a private kind of privilege. It's hard to be open to the pleasures and possibilities of dissonance when you are constantly finding yourself painted into a corner by the thing you're supposed to be, when you are constantly being forced by the culture at large to shout your way out of the boxes it's shoved you into. Someone will ask you what you like about these songs and by the time you've finished - no of course I don't think it's necessarily good, no of course I don't like the way some people treat these dudes' personas like a road map or an excuse, of course not of course not of course not - you come back and they've lost a little of their lustre. The darkness dulls; the undertow feels weaker, watered down. You're forced to compromise even in the act of explaining yourself. It's uncanny. It's a bummer. It's a trap.

The Weeknd - "The Hills"

So anyway: There's a steady chaos in these songs that can and will undo you if you let it - the chemical reaction between what The Weeknd's saying and what you can actually hear, the sloping voice and stuttered beat, thick bass and panicked siren, how he doesn't care about you, how he does. When you touch me, not feel me. When I'm fucked up, that's the real me. That pull apart: together and alone. These songs are if pure tension was an element; they want to meet you in the darkest part, the space between what's good for you and maybe what you want. No explaining. Go to.

[buy Beauty Behind the Madness]

Posted by Emma at September 4, 2015 5:08 PM

Thanks for this, Emma.

Posted by Pri at September 13, 2015 3:37 PM


Posted by kjc at September 18, 2015 11:29 AM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
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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radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
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