Saturday, 23 January 2016

Health - Death Magic : The Best of 2015


Death Magic the third album from electronic/noise/pop band Health is not something I would normally listen to, yet after being introduced to the band by a former acquaintance, I found both beauty and loss in its ambiguous lyrics and heartfelt style. The album came to represent a transitional period in my life. Each song alluding to an emotion or experience, consequently and accurately detailing what 2015 came to mean to me. Whilst the album was released in August, the message retrospectively coincided my life to the soundtrack it provided. For that reason it serves as my favourite album of 2015.


It is January 2015, the dawn of the New Year. There is a certain sense of foreboding in the air. One day in and I anticipate the year is off to an ominous start. The dramatic and almost dystopian synth of VICTIM intensifies this gut feeling, like something is about to go amiss. 

“It’s not enough.”

This is how I feel about my relationship, something is missing, and something has changed. Suddenly, a burst of energy, be it anger or happiness. I can’t be sure. The aggressive electronics of STONEFIST give way to Jacob Duzsick’s almost androgynous vocals. 

“We’re possessed by what we’ve lost.”


I determine we are both focusing too much on our previous relationships, allowing how we felt about someone else interfere with how we feel about each other. Dwelling on the past as if it has any influence on the present. “Loves not in our hearts,” but we wont admit it. We will try and persevere. If something feels right it’s because it is. Maybe it’s just me though? My mouth has always been bigger than my heart. By title alone MEN TODAY is insinuating enough, the chaotic tribal drumming ringing out like an audible interpretation of my psyche, punctuated by an industrial soundscape of figurative warnings.

I wonder how we’ve made it this far? What is this leading to? The complete reversal in tone of FLESH WORLD reaffirms that things always have to get worse before they can get better. Besides, we still have the physical side of our relationship, even if we have become emotionally withdrawn. 

“For what, lust.”

Yet something is building up, swelling inside us both, this wanton urge to be able to be honest with each other again. Like I said, this feels right, but heart and mind don’t always come to an agreement. This is an emotionally unstable time in our lives. Somehow the physical gets emphasised, yet simultaneously so does the now apparent feelings of mistrust which then leads to accusations and burning paranoia. COURTSHIP II tells us, 

“We’re honest when we’re born.”

I agree. Only when we are young, innocent and naïve can we address our emotions with subject transparency, before the heart has chance to manipulate and distort the mind.
The sombre electronica of DARK ENOUGH serves as a internal monologue. Our relationship has plateaued. We still tell each other ‘I love you,’ but its just words. These words have been subverted, now they only represent a trivial game of call and response. 

“Does it make a difference if it’s real, as long as I still say I love you.”

We are now only remaining together for the benefit of the other, not ourselves. When a relationship becomes more of a favour for someone else, what is there to gain from it?
This is LIFE. We don’t know what we want anymore. It has taken this long to realise that we are not the people we thought we were. We both want different things; yet find difficulty expressing what these things are. It is almost a revelation. Accepting confusion is healthier that suppressing it. With honesty there is almost a sense of optimism or at least, content. 

“Life is strange, but it’s all we’ve got.”


Still, the worst is yet to come, I keep reminding myself circumstances have to get much worse before they improve. Accepting is one thing, admitting is another. SALVIA is the dawning of the motivation I require, the pounding industrial rhythm drilling the epiphany deep into my conscious.
We argue for one last time. But we are not angry at each other, we are angry at ourselves, angry for not admitting how we truly felt, angry at impatiently focusing on the future before getting to know each other on a personal level. 

It all seems almost foolish now. We let childish pride and a war of attrition obstruct months of suppressed emotion and have now cumulated in a broken relationship. Just like NEW COKE states 

“Let the guns go off, let the bombs explode.”

The battle lines have been drawn now. What can be salvaged and what remains of civility?

“Am I stuck with myself?” questions L.A LOOKS. The post-dissolution remorse and regret is now all I can think about. “It’s not love, but I still want you.” But only because I don’t want you to be with anyone else, not just yet, not until I’ve selfishly moved on. Ultimately, you have to HURT YOURSELF in order to feel again. Love always comes hand in hand with hurt and the heart always desires what it cannot have. This is where the mind takes over, implementing rationality and foresight before regretful decisions are made. The heart maybe wounded but the mind is telling me everything is going to be alright.

DRUGS EXIST extenuates the finality. Now there is nothing left but the potential for something else, something better. 

“Live as you like, it’s hard to know what’s right” 

A year perfectly represented in thirty-nine minutes. The closing ambiance plays out leaves me to reflect on what I’ve experienced and what I’ve heard. It is January 2016…

NG