Album Review

Kim Gordon - The Collective

The gap between music and art seems smaller than ever.

Kim Gordon - The Collective

Listening to this second solo album from Kim Gordon feels a lot like flicking through a journal. Rather than an intimate account of her innermost thoughts, though, ‘The Collective’ is a more cut-and-paste type affair. Comprised of stream-of-consciousness musings, scattershot pastiches of pop culture and roughly sketched societal observations, the record finds Kim continuing to funnel uncomfortable truths through skulking trip-hop sounds and dank industrial rhythms. An artist whose work has always seemed more like conceptual performance piece as opposed to music for mass-consumption, opener ‘BYE BYE’ finds her notching up the anxiety as she lays a mundane yet maximalist packing list - “foundation / contact solution […] sleeping pills / sneakers / boots / eyelash curler / vibrator” - over steady beats juxtaposed by a fuzzy electronic screech. Fronting a challenge against consumer culture and dissecting the very basis of what it means to be a modern artist making an album, ‘The Candy House’ feels a bit like a soundtrack to a vintage arcade game, with a splintered lo-fi vibe reminiscent of finding oneself in the bathroom at a party - eyesight fuzzy and at a disconnect from the music’s source.

Moments like ‘Tree House’ are a bit more guitar-heavy, as static-y stretches of reverb scratch against Kim’s ever-elusive utterings, while ‘I’m A Man’ veers into trap-tinted territory with avant-rap interludes ringing out like the dull pang of a migraine that can’t quite be shaken off. More highlights come in the shape of ‘It’s Dark Inside’, a dense, noise-heavy track driven by howling distortion, and clattering, claustrophobic cut ‘The Believers’, with barbed techno beats that froth under the cracked veneer of Gordon’s vocals. Elsewhere producer Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Yves Tumor, Lil Yachty) gets his due, as ‘Psychedelic Orgasm’ finds blown-out dub paving the way for faraway instrumentals and ultra-modern, auto-tuned mantras to rise from the smouldering wreckage. By the album’s end - thanks, in part, to the droning noise and scuffed beats on closer ‘Dream Dollar’ - there’s a definite sense of the walls closing in. Here the distance Kim Gordon has forged, both across the album and throughout her career, is falling away - and the gap between music and art seems smaller than ever.

Tags: Kim Gordon, Reviews, Album Reviews

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