Pitchfork Top Fifty Albums: Number Eight


Too immoral for the Christians, but too moral for the cutthroats.

On Purple Rain there’s this song called Darling Nikki where Prince uses the M word. The M word got the whole music business in trouble with Al Gore’s wife, Tipper, and led to the dumbest initiative ever: Parental Advisory stickers.  This was supposed to warn parents of offensive content.  As we all know this was a really effective initiative that led to Tipper putting an end to all offensive language and sexy talk in songs forever.  I think my first stickered LP was Appetite for Destruction.  The main thing I remember as offensive about that album was the inside sleeve painting of what looked a lot like a woman who had been raped by a robot.  All class.

If there’s one thing that’s going to make me as uncomfortable as a nun receiving sexting messages it’s hot sexy talk in a song.  According to some, this undoubtedly speaks to all kinds of personal issues I should work out, but I see it as a cornerstone of my Anglo-Saxon identity.  In the good old days Anglo-Saxon males didn’t touch anyone.  Nowadays there’s a lot of social hugging.  I can understand that this is good on a theoretical level, but I’d rather not.  This naturally leads to lots of awkward hugging; a no man’s land of hesitant, half hugs that discomforts everyone.  Honestly, living in Japan was great for me.  In Japan they understand fully about not touching.

Of course they also have lots of really, really weird sexual fetishes.

I guess it’s The Valley that I’m talking about on Miguel’s Wildheart.  Man, that song makes me feel uncomfortable, but then it is about the adult film business.  I could have been, y’know, all cool about it, but these reviews are mainly about me (if you hadn’t noticed), and I’m trying to be honest, so – yeah – don’t play The Valley like really loud with anyone  who you might not want to share the words slit, and clit, and masturbate with.  You might be able to own this with a wide range of people, but if you invite me over and play this song there will only be a short period before I discover the sudden need to excuse myself and go to the bathroom, or get something from the car, or throw myself out a nearby window (open or closed).

Miguel is way more down with his sexuality than people like Kanye who keep calling 50% of the population “bitches” because, you know, he’s keeping it real or some shit.  Man, that’s just embarrassing.  Miguel likes to talk about women too, but generally about how awesome the lovemaking will be/is/was.  I don’t know how old Miguel is but he does have this teenage-I’ll love you forever-oh baby-naughty words-death vibe happening.  Whoever did this album cover nailed that vibe: 70s plush velvet, blaxploitation.

If I was going to get all analytical (which I’m about to), I would say something like: “With all this sin-save me-you’re a good girl-I wanna (naughty words) you-damnation talk I think Miguel has some stuff to work through in his head about ‘being good’ and ‘being bad’ and Christianity and feeling the human pulls inside him.”  He’s pretty idealistic about love: “…we set fire to these skies for our love…”.  It looks pretty cool being Miguel from the outside; I’m not sure what it’s like inside though.

Sometimes this album was a bit boring for me.  Sometimes it was really cool.  A Beautiful Exit, Deal, The Valley, What’s Normal Anyway, Waves – they’re all great.  But then I get kind of bored of ideas like “I wish I could paint our love”; bored because I think Miguel might be imagining a painting like the album cover, and I am imagining a snuggle on the couch.

Bro, you’re a cool dude, it’s not you it’s me, we’re just at different places in our life, but I feel you.  I’m not a Christian so I don’t really get it, but I would say that if you’re being safe, and respecting the women you’re with, then you’re not going to hell (whatever that is), and I’d like you to stop talking about beautiful exits and stuff like that.  Much more beautiful to tough it out and be flawed.

In a crowd and I feel alone, I look around and I feel alone
I never feel like I belong, I wanna feel like I belong, somewhere
Don’t let them change you, just be who you are, who you are
Don’t let them change you, you can’t please them all, them all

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō

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