Music

Autre Ne Veut - "Play by Play" (video)

The second single from Autre Ne Veut's incredible sophomore LP, Anxiety, happens to be the best track from that album, a layered, textural minor masterpiece of avant-R&B.


Autre Ne Veut

Anxiety

Label: Mexican Summer
US Release Date: 2013-02-26
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

With Frank Ocean and The Weeknd dominating R&B in a huge way in 2012, expectations are high for any artist attempting to step up to the mic that's shared with artists as immensely talented as those two. It won't be long, however, before Arthur Ashin—the man behind the Autre Ne Veut moniker—rises successfully to this challenge with the release of his sophomore album Anxiety, out on February 26th for the Mexican Summer label. The record—an almost impossibly rich and multilayered work of avant-pop and R&B—makes one even question if the term "sophomore slump" has any relevance; Anxiety is such a considerable improvement over his 2010 self-titled debut that at times it's hard to believe it's the same artist performing.

The opening track of the album, the high-energy "Play by Play," the second single following "Counting," kicks things off with aplomb. You might worry Ashin is treading into generic territory with the opening lyrics ("Baby, I said... baby!"), but from the moment the chorus begins, it's clear that this is no ordinary R&B record. Hell, calling it R&B is only partially accurate; Ashin is clearly drawing from the genre's stylistics, but "Play by Play" is, ironically enough, a song that's not easy to break down into a play by play. It feels so larger-than-life, so ebulliently grandiose that it's hard to grasp at one individual thing that makes it great. Even the chorus itself, built on a simple repetitive lyric ("I'm just calling you up/To get that play by play/by play by play"), feels like it's on a whole other realm. But at the same time it's a basic pop hook underneath, one that rises above the ocean of synths beneath it. That beautiful balance of unfussy composite parts with densely layered arrangements is but one of the many reasons why Autre Ne Veut has easily established himself as one of the still-young year's artists to watch for.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Music

ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.

Film

Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Music

Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Music

Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.

Music

'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.

Music

10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.

Books

'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.

Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.