Thursday, October 26, 2017

You and me we got chemistry chemistry baby you and me you and me we got chemistry chemistry baby you and me you and me we got chemistry chemistry baby y: August 2017 music diary

This is a rather dire selection of albums, and apart from the two by artists I've highly praised in the increasingly distant past, they aren't the kind of thing I'm going to choose to review once I reform my procedure here (2020, unless I just can't take it anymore before that). I'm sorry it's such a weak and insubstantial post.

Non-new music news: I read Peter Guralnick's biography of Sam Phillips and so should you; it's a vivid portrait of a man whose importance I'd appreciated but never properly understood.


Manchester Orchestra: A Black Mile to the Surface (Loma Vista) [c]
Why does any band from Atlanta sound this much like David Gray fronting Elbow?

Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Columbia) [NO]
It's a fact of life that bands sometimes take a wrong step, especially on an occasion like the movement from an indie to a major label, but it's difficult to remember the last time a deservedly celebrated artist on this scale allowed music this thunderously awful to make it to the marketplace; even Interpol's famously clumsy Capitol album Our Love to Admire didn't significantly depart from an established sound so much as all too clearly demonstrate its limitations. Under the guise of disco and dance music-derived experimentation, though, Arcade Fire -- an admirably focused and compassionate unit up to this point, even if The Suburbs was a little too long and Reflektor a little too thin -- has gone down a road of irony, or lack thereof, so wrongheaded that one's temptation is to treat it as a joke... or to assume that they have completely fooled themselves into thinking that this music is somehow bracing rather than embarrassing in its directness. With pandering, condescending phony-inspirational lyrics recalling '90s Everclear and music that alternately echoes a diluted variant on Ace of Base and a radio constantly tuned to Weird Al parodies of the songs "Vogue" by Madonna and "The Magnificent Seven" by the Clash on an endless loop, the record's series of seemingly endless half-assed compositions meets no hook that cannot be run obnoxiously into the ground. The lyrics, banal as they are, aren't any worse than the generic-sounding pop factory music, but they do deserve special mention for almost thoroughly wiping out the goodwill the band earned from crafting several of the finest anthems in the history of alternative rock; the astoundingly repetitive "Chemistry" runs less than four minutes but feels twice as long because of its insistence on belaboring its simple, worn-out chorus until you're ready to hurl your phone out into the street. I've been thinking carefully about this and I think it's fair to call it the worst song ever put out by a good rock band that isn't the Beach Boys. ("Happy Endings" still holds the all-time title.) The dunderheaded wordplay of the, uh, suite "Infinite Content" and "Infinite_Content," basically a rant against sheeple and their phones or something like that, is remarkable in its brain-melting obviousness, but it takes Win Butler's horrendous vocal performance on "Good God Damn" to signal just how bad things have gotten -- is this all a big bring-it-down-from-the-inside protest against capitalism or something? Lyrics about fans considering suicide to the tune of Funeral? A song called "We Don't Deserve Love" that goes on so long without presenting anything of consequence that it would take a saint not to agree with its thesis? To release a string of sub b-side material and to sing it badly on top of that feels like trolling, but the remainder of the material does this theory in since it settles for just being incredibly boring; the title track is tolerable but quickly wears out its welcome at five full minutes plus a three-minute preview and coda. Not even Régine Chassagne's contributions or Owen Pallett's string arrangements can unsink this ship. It's not only the worst album Arcade Fire has released by far, and one of the most disappointing hat tricks of the decade, it's actively difficult to imagine anything they could have released being much worse. The only optimistic conclusion you can draw from this is that they just don't realize how bad it is, but the ugly corollary to that is: will they ever? Perhaps not, but I bet Sony will.

Randy Newman: Dark Matter (Nonesuch)
A day will come when I will finally "get it" when it comes to Randy Newman, when I will hear what the rest of you hear in his work. Today is not that day, and this is not the record that will do it; during my Beach Boys project last year I spent some time with Sail Away, which my parents played a bit when I was a kid, because of how highly Brian Wilson spoke of it... and if that didn't convert me, an eight-minute pop operatic piece about the evolution debate definitely won't.

Kesha: Rainbow (RCA)
In the unenviable position of being forced to basically record music within a hostage situation, pop star Kesha files a record under some illusion of ambition and individuality. If she is happy with it, then it's a triumph, but to these ears it's a weak and anonymous pop album with too many hands in it for the first half, and one that suffers from canned humor and enthusiasm in the second. During her grossly unfair legal battle -- I know this is the world women have lived in for years and I sound like I just fell off the turnip truck, but how does sexual harassment not constitute a breach of contract? -- it used to seem like Kesha felt compromised by the image foisted upon her, and the way her enthusiasm in her singing shoots upward during the surprisingly credible country numbers ("Hunt You Down" and the Dolly Parton duet "Old Flames") heavily implies that she's no more comfortable today with the artificial teenage grooviness of something like "Boogie Feet" (which gets an inexplicable assist from Eagles of Death Metal). Miley Cyrus sounded comfortable with such phoniness because she was and is a born phony. Available evidence suggests Kesha is a lot better than the music she releases implies, and you end up wondering how safe she really is being herself. The only solo compositions are the angry one that opens the piece and the one that's "influenced by Pet Sounds"; that one's produced by none other than Ben Folds. It's not my place to give advice but I just hope she's really, really careful about getting swarmed upon by another unnecessary and dubious self-appointed mentor.

Dent May: Across the Multiverse (Carpark) [c]
While trying to convey to my wife how annoying and depressing this album is I played her cuts from May's first two albums, and it surprised even me how much more vital Do Things was than this lethargic mess of recycled power pop hooks, flattened wholly by the sterile tin can production of which he's grown increasingly fond. He's never been a bad songwriter and he still isn't, and his voice is nothing if not appealingly unusual, but he keeps getting caught up in this same dumb morass of directionless sugar.

Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins (RCA)
This will be a retread of my recent Fleet Foxes writeup. We've reached the outer limits of what I can say about this kind of music. If you like Grizzly Bear, it sounds like you would like it; it has expansive production and seems to subtly expand their palette of instrumentation. Meanwhile I hate them, but I harbor them no ill will, and it doesn't do the world any good for me to go beyond that.


- This Is the Kit: Moonshine Freeze (Rough Trade) - pleasant and shimmery, a rainy night AM blissout ["Two Pence Piece"]
- Dizzee Rascal: Raskit (Universal) - both impressive and terrifying how little the years seem to have mellowed him out; lovely '90s MTV feeling here though
- Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (Glitterbeat) - the Congo's past linked to a universal present
- Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda Lee (Single Lock) - car wheels on a gravel road ["Darkness Falls So Quiet"]

- Floating Points: Reflections - Mojave Desert (Pluto)
- Golden Retriever: Rotations (Thrill Jockey)

Mura Masa ft. Bonzai "Nuggets" [Mura Masa]
Lana Del Rey "Love" [Lust for Life]


Girl Ray: Earl Grey
David Rawlings: Poor David's Almanack
Liane Carroll: The Right to Love

[Due to a Notepad-related disaster, I lost my notes for the last several of these, so some of them probably should have Not You It's Me tags. Sorry.]
Bedouine [NYIM]
James Elkington: Wintres Woma [NYIM]
Public Service Broadcasting: Every Valley
Mura Masa
Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Barefoot in the Head
Stanton Moore: With You in Mind [NYIM]
Alice Cooper: Paranormal
Nick Heyward: Woodland Echoes [NYIM]
The Districts: Popular Manipulations
Paul Kelly: Life Is Fine
Oneohtrix Point Never: Good Time OST [no one alive has done enough drugs to listen to this]
Frankie Rose: Cage Tropical
Downtown Boys: Cost of Living
Rat Boy: Scum
So Much Light: Oh, Yuck
Judy Dyble: Summer Dancing
Shelby Lynne: Not Dark Yet
Ghostpoet: Dark Days + Canapes
Steven Wilson: To the Bone


Saturday, October 7, 2017

The future of ratkind: July 2017 music diary

Laurel Halo: Dust (Hyperdub) [hr]
Squeaking and tweaking and bubbling like a higher-tech tUnE-yArDs, Halo is an electronic producer operating from Berlin via Ann Arbor; this is her third album, and its mood is already infectious before she starts delivering immediate, maddening earworms like "Moontalk" and "Do U Ever Happen." Like Jlin's record from a few months ago, it's the sound of addictive unrest -- all the experimentation of Arca or Oneohtrix but sliding ever so subtly into pop form, which in turn brings you back, which in turn makes the itch come back harder. Not since Crystal Castles broke through has such superficially annoying music become so lifestyle-indispensable so quickly.

Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory (Def Jam) [hr]
Minority opinion, but I've long felt like Staples was a talent being held back by something -- restraint? heart? formalism? a preference for midtempo? who knows -- and outside of some explosive tracks, and some I eventually warmed to when they became popular, I felt distant from his material. His second album doesn't just redeem anything ordinary in his back catalog, it sets fire to nearly everything else out right now, within and outside of the hip hop frame. With production dominated by Zack Sekoff but easing freely through tracks from GTA, Sophie and others, the record's beats are a showcase for cutting edge electronic and avant garde, as forward-looking and alien-sounding in its fashion as Yeezus or Atrocity Exhibition despite cues from Burial and classic house. You don't really need to know or recognize any of this to notice that nothing else sounds like this right now, and also that Staples harnesses this energy to deliver magnetic, overwhelming hooks and too many engaging moments of outright pop brilliance to count. Top-dollar guests are everywhere, many of them bigger stars than Staples, one of them inexplicably Damon Albarn, but the drama and the quickness all come from the leader himself. The absolutely infectious "Big Fish" should be the biggest song in the country, but then "BagBak" shoulda been too, with its outstanding closing fuck-off to the one percent, the government and the president, and for its lyrical synthesis of Staples' Afrofuturism: "Prison system broken, racial war commotion / Until the president get ashy, Vincent won't be votin' / We need Tamikas and Shaniquas in that Oval Office / Obama ain't enough for me, we only getting started," and maybe especially for the clear-as-a-bell, thrown off verse line "clap your hands if the police ever profiled," and the hint -- however Utopian -- of economic revenge, so much more profound than Jay-Z's because it's so much less polite and has the ring of underground organization. But every one of these mean creations is terrific; at 36 minutes, there's never time for a letup and it's hard to even breathlessly point out highlights, though "745" and the magical tin can "Yeah Right" will stick in your head first. All the while Staples lays down the gauntlet on race, America, class, suicide and sex in 2017, his sharpness and wickedness here fully matched by equally fearless musical choices.

Algiers: The Underside of Power (Matador) [c]
Atlanta "psychedelic soul" band claims to be post-punk but sounds more like Queens of the Stone Age, only more tired yet.

Peter Perrett: How the West Was Won (Domino) [r]
Probably my most anticipated album of the year save Kelela's, and despite the rating, better than I honestly expected. As leader of one of the most wonderful British bands of the '70s and '80s, the Only Ones, Perrett laid down an irresistibly erudite, sensitive vocal and lyrical style that made you feel he was one of the few songwriters with an actual empathy for, and feel for the problems of, human beings; whether his subject was a lost cat or the frenzied mania of real love, his songs rivaled the cleverness and humor of Ray Davies and Paul Westerberg with what sometimes seemed like an even stronger literary approach to genuine emotion. Seldom was a word wasted, and his vocal inflections and melodies operated in close conjunction, the songs never struggling to fit the words or vice versa; the thing is, he never ever got credit for any of this, his band getting buried in narratives about punk and new wave, has apparently spent the last thirty-odd years getting high on self-destruction with his wife, "flirting with death" in perpetuity. 2017 brings his first proper solo record, and you notice two things immediately: his voice is undimmed, and you can't even believe it's not 1979 when he starts singing. Secondly, the first song is pretty horrendous, like one of Loudon Wainwright's extended treatises on Viagra or whatnot. It gradually improves from there, though (even the polyamory song isn't that bad, not least because Perrett could breathe from ashtrays for the rest of his life and never be as disgusting as David Crosby), and Perrett's guitar playing is better than ever, almost Tom Verlaine-like at its best (listen to "Something in My Brain"). And there are at least two songs, "Sweet Endeavour" and "C Voyeurger," that are good enough to be on an Only Ones record, and that's honestly enough for me to count this an unexpected success.

MIKE: May God Bless Your Hustle (s/r)
NYC rapper with a somewhat repetitive verse style that drowns out whatever stunning lyrics others are hearing (though I am partial to the sentiment "I got this fuckin' headache / and it fuckin' hurt"), but he gets a nod for discussing mental health straightforwardly, and the genuinely oddball production choices and strange sonic interludes, on top of conventional soul samples, keep things from getting too tired. The juxtaposition sometimes calls up memories of Cities Aviv.

Jay-Z: 4:44 (Roc Nation) [c]
Self-absorption can generate art, but it has its limits and Kanye West has already fully explored them in this era and genre. Meanwhile, Jay's own personal Downfall of Western Civilization continues with his completely unnecessary "answer record" to Beyoncé's Lemonade, presumably recorded between board meetings, with producer No ID all too willingly enabling the onetime titan's clinging to the past of lush Blueprint-lite soul samples and to a generally desperate rotten-to-the-core nostalgia for a long-outmoded cultural dominance. Well, we're all getting older, but "y'all think small, I think Biggie" is a reach, and "I would say I'm the realest nigga rappin', but that ain't even a statement, that's like sayin' I'm the tallest midget -- wait, that ain't politically correct" is a dumb joke unworthy of a skit on a Big Boi release, made dumber yet because it's completely sincere. And enough about renewed energy, check out these hot rhymes: "I bought some artwork for one million / Two years later, that shit worth two million" or "Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian / had to pretend so long that she's a thespian" (which, okay, I get that it's a crucial gesture for him personally, but the expiration date on that particular couplet was probably 1985). It's not all embarrassing, but a lot of it is, like the worst part of the otherwise far more inspired Lemonade -- the "Black Bill Gates" capitalist fantasyland -- expanded into a worldview, with sentimental odes to friendships with superstars predicated on who gets the streaming rights to their catalogs, and the record's careful exposure rolled out in listening parties at Sprint stores, and an entire song about who gets what part of the corporate holdings in Jay's will. It's telling that the record's best moment by far is Jay's tail-between-legs confessional title cut, as if marital woes are his only remembered connection to reality. I truly do hope those two millionaires work it out.

Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder (Arts & Crafts) [r]
The legend goes that only a few people (who weren't in media) bought Broken Social Scene records at their height but every one of them is now in middle management. I can't tell you how tempting it is to rate this higher than it probably deserves. Unlike the good but sluggish Forgiveness Rock Record, this brings back the classic sound of Kevin Drew and his large cohort, and if you've not listened in a while you may have forgotten how much their expansive, detailed sound predicted the Arcade Fire phenomenon, for example. But unlike fellow Canadian supergroup the New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene's sound has become quaint, tied completely with nostalgia for a college rock culture that rescinded its domination quite quickly; and hey, it's not like Arcade Fire is doing a whole lot better lately. Still, if you want to pretend it's 2003-05 and so much still lay ahead, a time when I and everyone else with a taste for this kind of whatever this is played You Forgot It in People and its followup until we memorized every cranny and nuance, this is a bargain in terms of expanding a tiny catalog with more-of-the-wonderfully-same. It couldn't sound more correct or glorious while it's on, but its biggest cultural contribution to the world is letting Leslie Feist sing a few times. I'm not saying the music is irrelevant, I'm saying you'll only understand why it's so beautiful if you knew it way back when.

Japanese Breakfast: Soft Sounds from Another Planet (Dead Oceans)
Pseudonym of Oregonian multi-instrumentalist lo-fi popster Michelle Zauner, whose work boasts a broadly theatrical sound bordering on dreampop. It sounds nice and means well, but it's an odd choice to hype up and you can get your fix for this in many places, this just as well as any. Sounds like the back end of a Chromatics album at its best.

Sheer Mag: Need to Feel Your Love (Revolver) [hr]
Riff-heavy, musically omnivorous power pop quintet came screaming out of Philly in 2016 with a set of three scarring, relentless EPs comprised of some of the filthiest and best American rock & roll in years, led unforgettably by the booming-voiced, unstoppable Tina Halladay and with lead guitarist Kyle Seely joining Max Kakacek to bring back that tasty Elliot Easton-Alex Chilton shit with plenty of Led Zeppelin and Boston and other dinosaur bands in tow, without the sneering machismo or self-indulgence. Their debut full-length takes a surprisingly nuanced approach compared to the punch-to-the-gut of the seven-inches, but after a time this ends up serving not to dilute their sound but to demonstrate an expanded, eclectic range of capabilities. With their revolutionary rhetoric and solid mixture of stubbornness and elasticity in their commercial aspirations, they could be the rare band that comes out swinging and doesn't immediately start to stagnate, especially since the record reveals few limitations to their sound, fewer yet to Halladay's once-in-a-lifetime presence and versatility. A band whose absorption of classic rock/AOR, glam, new wave, punk and even traces of metal already offered a nearly utopian synthesis on III proves equally capable of interpreting funk, disco, power balladry ("Milk and Honey" is Saints-worthy); even if the timely protest celebration "Meet Me in the Street" and political admonition "Expect the Bayonet" make the grandest possible statements, the shocking directness and fearless vulnerability of the title cut, the interlocking groove and infectious midtempo stomp of "Suffer Me," and the undeniable pop bliss of "Pure Desire" -- goddamn, that chorus! -- keep you running back to this irresistible broken-speaker sound, and you remember what felt so fleetingly good about hanging around in those seedy bars way back whenever or late last night.

Shabazz Palaces: Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines (Sub Pop) [r]
Shabazz Palaces: Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star (Sub Pop) [hr]
Ishmael Butler bombards us with two new records simultaneously, and the first -- engaging though it is -- is something of a retread, more sci-fi tomfoolery in a concept record about an alien exploring the ghost in the machine, observing the haters, getting mad about narcissism, etc., and Butler really does sound pretty pissed off in places when the poetry slam absurdity of it, not to mention a beatless gloom that's altogether new, doesn't totally drown him out. The second record is another story; intended as a set of bonus tracks it grew out into its own full-fledged experience and, like Kendrick Lamar's set of To Pimp a Butterfly leftovers untitled unmastered., it sounds rawer, looser, more engaged than the sessions that birthed the idea. The malfunctioning Atari sounds of "Julian's Dream" and the scathing culture critique "30 Clip Extension" on the first album give the best clues to what's going on during the second, which allows Butler to come out from behind concept and really spit: the unsettling rhythms and chants of "Eel Dreams" and "Fine Ass Hairdresser" have all the spontaneity missing when the impulse toward plot overtakes songs, "Shine a Light" is a sample-heavy production and performance to die for, possibly the best synthesis of the Shabazz ethos thus far, and "Moon Whip Quaz" is just irresistible... while the second record's ambient interludes and hooks both linger to a greater degree than anything since Black Up. It feels like the two albums would have greater impact if they were fused, but Butler so clearly knows what he's doing musically it's no fun to try to question his artistic or business acumen.

Waxahatchee: Out in the Storn (Merge) [r]
Same as it ever was, a flawless soundtrack to eternal adolescence, or at least hazy memories of same.

Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy (Columbia) [r]
(Pretending you don't already know this:) Tyler's part of the Odd Future alt-hip hop collective of essentially teenagers who hit the big time as bloghypes and then a mainstream phenomenon starting around 2011, at which time their attempt at an Insane Close Posse-style cultish fanbase with a DIY ethos and alternately absurdist, misogynist and just plain stupid humor reached its brief zenith, meaning there was a lot of talk about "the zeitgeist" and a lot of people getting (understandably, for the most part) offended. This already feels like ancient history, and already had begun to by the time the collective's first real breakout superstar Frank Ocean started getting fawned over by normies the world over in '12 -- when he started his balladeering move, the guilt-by-association evidently faded. One of the decisive moments in Ocean's public life was when he came out as bisexual, and some years later Tyler -- author of most of the more divisive and troubling lyrics that got Odd Future so much attention in the first place, many of them homophobic -- has done the same in album form with this confessional charmer that rides on the back of Chance the Rapper's last few releases with its Yellow Submarine-PM Dawn graphics and vibes. Truthfully, its ambitions don't seem far removed from Tyler's initial plan post-Goblin -- "Talking about rape and cutting bodies up, it just doesn't interest me anymore... what interests me is making weird hippie music for people to get high to." hmm, okay -- but it's getting loads of goodwill now that Chance has made its brand of introspection somewhat fashionable, and it no-shit remains extremely impressive that Tyler produces all of his own material; when you hear the variance of sound on this release, that's mind-blowing, though if I'm being honest this is also the first time I've been able to make it all the way through one of his records, which I thought in 2011 and still think today is partially generational -- go ask the Needle Drop asshole what he thinks I guess* -- and partially resentment that Odd Future received a level of attention that the vastly more provocative and witty Das Racist never did (if DR was the Sex Pistols, Odd Future is the damn Knack). I do like this; Tyler's an engaging and versatile rapper, the lyrics are fair enough, and the three-track run from "Boredom" to "911" is a mood-swinging blast, and a return to the groove-based sound of early Kanye West is more immediately appealing to me (except when No ID is trying it) than the perhaps artistically riskier exploration of gospel and pop tones on Coloring Book, but as with that record I have to tell you that I find the positivity at least a little hollow, and maybe in this case even a tiny bit self-serving, considering how much the attention paid to Tyler has fallen off with each successive record until now. "November" and "Glitter" are sweet, good-hearted songs, and they're also almost tooth-decayingly corny, painting him as a passive-aggressive reactionary in reverse. But if someone finds empowerment here, they fully deserve it, and I know young people need space to figure shit out and cynicism isn't helpful here... but can you really 100% tell which Tyler is the trustworthy confessor and which the pandering crook?

* = oops, the Needle Drop guy is only two years younger than me, oh well, throwing myself into the ditch now

- Beach Fossils: Somersault (Bayonet)- jangling into a dark night, and with a streak of genre-bending riskiness to boot; too bad the singing is almost wholly colorless
- Chuck Berry: Chuck (Dualtone) - more an odds and ends gathering than a proper return, overrun with novelty like most of his studio albums, but his first stab at new material in almost thirty years is more charming than not, and his refusal to accept he had nothing left to prove rings out hard and true ["Big Boys" / "Wonderful Woman"]
- The Heliocentrics: A World of Masks (Soundway) - starts slow but gets hypnotic, the less singing the better
- Sufjan Stevens/Bryce Dessner/Nico Muhly/James McAlister: Planetarium (4AD) - like Sufjan? you'll like this, but you'll listen to it start to finish maybe twice in your life
- Alison Moyet: Other (Cooking Vinyl) - no standout songs but Moyet's voice is an earth-shattering thrill, now as always
- Beth Ditto: Fake Sugar (Virgin) - all-timer indie rock diva discovers the joy of florid full arrangements, retains her infallible voice on some terrific throwback stuff ["In and Out" / "Do You Want Me To"]
- TOPS: Sugar at the Gate (Arbutus) - lilting soft rock with a '90s trip hop edge like Flock of Dimes, though not nearly as good
- Amber Coffman: City of No Reply (Columbia) - soulful, melodic, well-produced pop from -- of all people -- the former ex-Dirty Projectors guitarist; starts out truly brilliantly with three of the best songs of the year ["All to Myself" / "Dark Night" / "Nobody Knows"]

* This Is the Kit: Moonshine Freeze
* Dizzee Rascal: Raskit
Floating Points: Reflections - Mojave Desert
James Elkington: Wintres Woma
Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic
Public Service Broadcasting: Every Valley
Mura Masa
Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Barefoot in the Head
Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda Lee
Stanton Moore: With You in Mind
Golden Retriever: Rotations

House and Land [NYIM]
Phoenix: Ti Amo
Big Boi: Boomiverse
Rozwell Kid: Precious Art
Denai Moore: We Used to Bloom [NYIM]
Jeff Tweedy: Together at Last
Lapalux: Rulnism
Washed Out: Mister Mellow
HAIM: Something to Tell You
Boris: Dear
Offa Rex: The Queen of Hearts
Declan McKenna: What Do You Think About the Car?
Daphni: Fabriclive 93 [NYIM]
Childhood: Universal High
Pete Fij: We Are Millionaires [NYIM]

B.B. King: Live in Cook County Jail (ABC 1970/1971) [r]
various artists: At Home with the Groovebox (Grand Royal 2000) [-] {the Pavement song is magnificent}