Ooooooh I’m a fucking ghost.
I have a confession to make. I don’t really know how to talk about electronic music. At least not from like, a technical standpoint. With most other genres I can point to an instrument and be like “Yo, that glockenspiel is fuckin’ on point” or “whoever is playing that triangle deserves a raise”. But when everything is technically a synth, how do you make those distinctions? That’s not the point. The point is that Kelly Lee Owens’ self titled debut is pretty great.
End of review.
Oh. Yeah. I should probably explain myself. And it’s not actually an 11/10. I was lying. I’m a bad person and you should never really trust anything I say. The problem goes back to what I said earlier. It’s kind of hard for me to dissect this music and translate my thoughts on it to the written word. I mean there are plenty of super memorable and infectious melodies all over this album. And the percussion is never not on point. But can I call it percussion? Or is that some kind of unwritten electronic music rule that I have to call percussion something other than percussion?
We’re not getting anywhere. The whole previous 190 something words were a waste of my 2 minutes and your 30 seconds.
That’s my bad.
I’m not sorry.
This is an album performed by a ghost. Or a group of ghosts backed by some beautiful and creative synth work that consistently (except for on “Cbm”) had my jaw on the floor. And unlike a lot of Electronic albums that have come out recently Kelly Lee Owens finds a way to really diversify the sounds on this album while at the same time having all of the songs contribute to creating a cohesive overall sound. She’s able to pull this off because she never lets the instrumentals on this thing slip in favor of her vocals. And when her vocals are here they are ethereal as hell and barely take any of your attention away from what the rest of the song is doing.
One of my biggest complaints about most electronic music is that the music sounds very synthetic and cold–devoid of life. Sure most of these tracks have an icy feel to them, thanks to Owens’ Dream Pop inspirations, but they rarely sound lifeless. Tracks like “S.O” “Anxi” (with a very weird spoken word segment from Jenny Hval) and “Bird” have an almost tribal vibe to the way they handle the rhythm section. While tracks like “Lucid” “Arthur” and “Keep Walking” use Owens’ voice to put you into a dream-like state where you can just ride the instrumentation. In fact the only time that this album sounds even a little bit robotic is on the lead single for this thing — “Cbm” which stands for “Color Beauty and Motion” and while it sounds like it’s moving, it isn’t particularly colorful or beautiful. But I mean that’s just one track that isn’t amazing.
“Throwing Lines” sounds like a Grimes song from Visions or maybe even Halfaxa. I mean that in the best possible way.
I loved this thing. I don’t know how else to put it. The music is beautiful, the vocals blend in perfectly even though half the time they sound like they’re being performed by a ghost–the whole album just comes together in one solid cohesive whole. I didn’t feel like it wasted a minute of my time. I’ll be coming back to this album again and again throughout the year. Mark my words.
Oh and I know I started doing that whole “Album of the Day” bullshit, but then I stopped listening to as much new music. Then I felt like I was missing out on stuff. Then I started hating some of my favorite music because I thought it was holding me back from hearing all the new shit.
TL;DR I have no idea what I am doing with my little music blog, or anything really.
Listen to the damn album.
*This is the actual score. I’m not lying this time.