Night Time, My Time
Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk – no one wants to just leave the music alone, hear it for what it is, everything has to hear a story. I’ll happily hunt out music on my own to review – but then it comes with a back-story immediately, if not baggage. I’ve had to find something out to find the music. So when Sky Ferreira’s album Night Time, My Time arrived – the old-fashioned way – in the letterbox, I was able to approach it the old-fashioned way: listening to it. No reading about it first, no digging for dirt, no having gossip flung at me – just checking out an album. Throwing it into the CD player – seeing what sticks.
And though I won’t be the first to proclaim it a great pop album – the likely leader in that area so far this year (and/or last year, as the case actually is) – I still believe that. Hugely. I’m one of hundreds, thousands, whatever. In fact this isn’t probably the sort of music I would normally go for, you might say. I might even say that (in fact I think I just did) but there’s something undeniable about the bounce behind the big hits here – the big, big pop tunes that so clearly, cleverly reference 1980s pop without being completely copycat. Sky Ferreira has as much – or more – in common with Grimes than she would Cyndi Lauper, but unlike Grimes, she’s not consciously aping the singing-in-the-hairbrush-while-bouncing-on-the-rebounder look and touch and feel, she (along with whoever else helped) has been busy finishing songs – actual songs. And so, even if it’s not your thing I’d like to see anyone talk down 24 Hours. Yes, it reminds me of movie-montage music from my youth – but that’s just one aspect of it I like. It’s not actually the music from the fight scene medley in Bloodsport or Karate Kid, it’s closer to one of those Grimes songs, just scrubbed up and (correctly) dressed; polished, finished off.
There’s murkiness and grit here too – as on the title track. There’s a real belter in Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay) but just when you think you’ve got her pegged as some post-Britney throwback from this world to the Laupers and Pat Benatars of that world you hear the dark edges in around the pop-song bounce on Heavy Metal Heart, on Kristine, on I Will. And these are songs which deal in the urban ennui of today – rather than tagging themselves to the pop of the past. Pop music has to move forward, the best attempts are made by people so happy with moving forward that they could care less – in fact – about the past.
And you hear great pop songs like Everything Is Embarrassing – immaculately composed, played, produced; perfectly realised pop music. Perfect for right now.
I hear so many anthems on this album – and whilst I’d probably look like a giant fucking dork in the crowd at the gig, arm raised, words on the tip of my tongue or whatever – it doesn’t make it any less valid for me to proclaim my interest in this as music. Or maybe it does. But so be it.
The name Sky Ferreira was known to me before I heard this album – but I couldn’t recall any of her previous singles, nothing about her pop-star past, or the earnest attempts to have one, bugged me or bothered me. None of them meant anything when I heard this – you could attach any name to this album and you’d have something. You’d have a set of good songs. Will they be good songs in a year or two? Fuck, who knows – probably not is my guess. But they suit me just fine for right now.
Then I dial up that pesky ole internet and get to reading these stories, she had a link – perhaps tenuous, really – to Michael Jackson, saw him as some sort of mentor. She was fucked around by men in suits, shock-fucking-horror. She was promised the world as the next Britney and then cast off into a world of heroin-chic modelling and such.
It’s so boring hearing people talk about all this. Especially when there’s music here that could stand up no matter the name attached. But people are talking. Let ‘em talk…