by Carl Wilson
I mentioned Kelly Hogan‘s beautiful album when it came out earlier this year, but this weekend I killed some Canadian Thanksgiving train-travel time by listening to her funny, wise, betimes sad interview with Jim Derogatis and Greg Kott on the WBEZ show Sound Opinions, which begins with this performance. Hogan has this boho-slacker/neighbour-lady posture that makes it all the more astounding when she starts belting out mountaintop soul climaxes like some blend of Dusty, Loretta and Mavis, and I’ll admit I’m very down with her penchant for wryly knowing masochistic ballads. The fact that this one is by Robyn Hitchcock is also kind of a marvel: Apparently if he were kidnapped and forced to work in some modern-day Brill Building writing for other people, Hitchcock would be able to rediscover the emotional wellsprings his habitual mannerisms often pollute. Also, time for a survey of singers who prefer to perform barefooted: It’s like every note here is straight from the sole.
(cover of Walt Disney’s Comics #69, by Carl Barks, 1946)
by Chris Randle
The cad/gentleman duality is a familiar R&B persona, but I can’t remember the last album that embodied it as fully as King of Hearts does. The second song on Lloyd’s new LP, “Cupid,” exemplifies the latter archetype; over an atypically hard beat, he marvels that, what do you know, the little cherub has done it again! But it’s coming on the heels of this:
“Dedication to My Ex” could be the punk-rock version of Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You,” sanitized radio version and all. (The bowdlerized chorus substitutes “lovin,” though I wish Lloyd had used his most absurd idea, “Lucy.”) It reduces the earlier song’s bereft tantrum to three metaphorical chords of profane neo-soul. Andre 3000’s acidic guest verse has the bilious aftertaste of a John Lydon rant: “Bet your buddy don’t even know you don’t like red / Or was it fuschia? Fuck it, our future is dead.” For a singer so clearly indebted to the sex-terrified Michael Jackson, intoning “pussy” every five seconds is similarly jarring.
Like “Fuck You,” however, the song belies its lyric sheet (perhaps inadvertently). Lloyd doesn’t sound distraught here. He almost seems to be getting off on reminiscence, describing the really good sex he and his lady used to have with a bruised thrill. When he sings “I guess she’s feeling kind of freaky lately,” his tone carries a note of wistfulness. In this light, Lloyd’s weird sexist fantasy that the other man has literally fucked her vagina out of shape is less a sneer than a whimper. His words say pussy in heels, but his voice cries Venus in Furs. Cuckolded self-pity curdles into self-mockery. A jovial “I’m about to kill this bitch” is the one unfunny moment, especially when Chris Brown appears two tracks later, but masochistic and misogynistic have never been mutually exclusive, even among punks.