Paul Carr: This is as spellbindingly beautiful as music gets. The deep tones of Cale may have been supplanted in the memory by Buckley’s higher pitched and sensational reading of Cohen’s classic but this is no less soul-stirring. It doesn’t matter that Cale’s cover came first. There is more than one way to cover a song and both Buckley’s and Cale’s are remarkable in their own way. Cale’s slightly more world-weary take adds even more emotional heft to the song. At times it’s almost too difficult to listen to, draped in the dark cowl of the imagery and the attachment that the listener already has for the song. [10/10]
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“Your Skin Won’t Hide You” is the new track by Belgium’s Emptiness, from the group’s upcoming LP Not For Music. We are pleased to premiere it today. Emptiness has forged its own path in the world of extreme music by doing the unexpected, something that can be heard in the haunting, opening guitar figure on this track. The eerie, repeated part calls to mind the transformative qualities of minimalism. At first the repetition rubs, maybe even annoys, until it becomes such a consistent and powerful companion that the listener can’t imagine life without it.
Jeremie Bezier’s low, growling lyrics add an equally unsettling quality to the track, deepening our sense that we have somehow landed in a world or dimension where all is slightly askew and what we thought we believed or had determined to be true was anything but. This is one of the greatest qualities heard in the music of Emptiness, the ability to make the known unfamiliar and the unfamiliar even more frightening and uncertain. This is not music about comfort but instead about life’s disquiet, unrest and the fear that wants to grip us all.
Adriane Pontecorvo: “Come Down” is all about perfect layers. A solid, thumping bassline lays the perfect foundation for Anderson Paak’s raspy vocals, which split into several eerily discordant layers as Paak’s energy builds. With the quick drums adding another beat between voice and bass, there are enough rhythms for a truly versatile song, one for every kind of partygoer, whether chilling in the corner and slowly swaying or going hard out on the dance floor. It’s a short track, and not one with too memorable of a melody, but it showcases Paak’s talents admirably, and makes for a good, sharp groove. [8/10]
Andrew Paschal: The vocals here sit in an uncomfortable liminal space between singing and spoken word, taking on a rueful and bittersweet approach to storytelling. When I saw that the song is seven minutes long I settled in for an epic, but before I knew it, “Call Yourself Renee” was wrapping up and I realized I’d been staring out the window the whole time. Personally, I didn’t find this to be an absorbing tale in its own right, but it proved a solid vehicle for my own personal daydreams. [6/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Tinariwen’s Tuareg blues have never needed lyrical interpretation for the language-limited; the feeling always bleeds through. Here, the Sahara’s own rock stars lament the current state of their home desert, of the constant power struggles that stain the region. The desert night echoes through “Ténéré Tàqqàl” with warm breezes and the twang of incomparable guitars; Tinariwen continues to tell an unending story of struggle with that vast beauty, with the combined power of sand and string. Like everything the group does, this single sways and pulls at the heartstrings, pure expression through both music and lyrics. As always, no melancholy is more sincere and no tale more elegantly told than Tinariwen’s. [10/10]