plus Robyn, Modern Superstitions, No Joy
by Emmet Matheson
MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
Apollo was a douchebag.
In the Euripides play Ion we learn that Apollo raped young Creusa, leaving her pregnant. “Such was the pleasure of the god,” Mercury tells us. Ewww. Traumatized and ashamed, revealing her pregnancy to no one, Creusa returns to the cave where Apollo had raped her to give birth to a son. She abandons the boy in the cave to die from exposure to the elements. Apollo has Mercury bring the child to his temple at Delphi to be raised as a nameless orphan.
Years later, Creusa and her husband Xuthus travel to Delphi to ask the oracles there if they’ll be able to produce an heir. Of course, they meet Creusa’s now-grown son. Thanks to some dickishly cryptic prophesies from the oracles, Xuthus believes the young man to be his son from one of his many youthful exploits and names him Ion. Creusa, fearing that her role as provider of an heir to Xuthus has been made redundant, plots to poison Ion. Ion learns of Creusa’s plot and seeks his own murderous revenge.
In the end, the truth is revealed, no one gets murdered, and Minerva (better known as Pallas Athena) comes down from the sky to tell everyone to chill the eff out. Even though he made a horror of Creusa’s life and forced Ion to grow up nameless and uncared for, no one calls Apollo out on being an egotistical Asshole with a capital A. Though he does not actually appear in the play, we can easily imagine Apollo looking over the events with an air of aloof annoyance, like, “I don’t get it. Why’s everybody so mad at me?”
In fact, Creusa, Ion and Minerva all praise him as the play ends. Well, he is the guy who brings the sun every morning. How you gonna hate the sun?
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags, as long as they bring that sun.
Remember Cookies Roller Rink? (C’mon, don’t make me feel like Andy Rooney here. All right, I guess it was a helluva long time ago. Sigh.) Something about Robyn’s electro pop sound takes me back to my ’80s childhood, when us girls would skate around the neon-lit rink to the singles of the day. Not that there’s anything retro about Robyn’s tunes production-wise. But the Swedish singer’s exuberance and attitude hearken back to the heyday of artists like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper — women who made catchy music but also projected strength.
Instead of offering herself up as an interchangeable sex symbol (I’m looking at you, Ke$ha and Katy Perry!), Robyn has charted a much different course than many of her peers by starting her own record label, co-writing and co-producing her albums and becoming an engaging live performer. On her seventh record (a compilation of three EPs released this year) Robyn offers up 15 tracks — more than half of which feature unbelievably awesome choruses (take “Indestructible” for starters) as sweet and elastic as taffy. Give or take a couple of weaker tracks, you’ll be hard pressed to find another dance pop record as fun as this in 2010. /Gillian Mahoney
ALL THE THINGS WE’VE BEEN TOLD
The fact that this is an EP can only lead to listening patterns that can be described as “obsessive”. The debut release from Toronto act Modern Superstitions is an eyes-forward march of energetic, female-fronted rock, produced by Patrick Pentland of Sloan. The six tracks featured here never go beyond guitar, drums, bass, and vocals, but the confident swagger and solid writing make this an addictive listen and places any full-length release in their future on the “Must Listen” list. /James Brotheridge
Sometimes I would leave No Joy’s Ghost Blonde for a minute, pausing it while I left the room. When I came back, it was never hard to pick up where I left off. A lot of the songs off the band’s debut album work with a single driving concept, in the same manner of a lot of their chillwave compatriots. Their music plays a lot better than a lot of those bands, though, simply because they run more with their shoegaze influences, a genre that’s always fared better with long tangents devoted more to atmosphere than forward progression. But finding anything remarkable here is still a stretch. /James Brotheridge