Graham Reid | | 4 min read
Pop picking is a fast'n'furious business these days and, as Art Garfunkel memorably sang on his Graceland album, “Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts”.
But just as important to an artist as a hit single streamed for free or a YouTube clip which can be viewed a billion times (also for free) is the reissue of their classic album with extra tracks. These important cultural artefacts – think, the Beatles' Sgt Peppers, Velvet Underground and Nico and the third Haircut 100 album – are cash generators with no extra cost to the artist and damn all to the record company . . . but little extra of any value for the slavish devotee.
But that's life. Get over yourself.
And anyway, it's 2018 . . . and the disposable pop audience lives in a world of the Constant Now. So why should an artist wait for the 10th or 20th anniversary edition of their great album?
That seems to be the thinking of Kiwi pop disruptor Lorde who has announced a four CD and DVD expanded Deluxe Limited Edition Collector's Legacy Version of her 2017 Melodrama album.
Released mid-year on the first anniversary of Melodrama, More Melodramatics will contain mono and stereo mixes of the album (with helpful notes for those who think of “mono” as something American teenagers get in high school movies) as well as a disc of studio outtakes, unreleased versions of songs so weak they didn't make the original MeloWaggamama and some acoustic treatments of other Malodorous songs.
There will also be a disc of Melodrama songs remixed by the likes of Big Poppa G, Electrolux, Cas Grime'n'Tymme and Taylor Swift. Those who have heard these remixes are very enthusiastic – especially Big Poppa G, Electrolux and Cas Grime'n'Tymme – although some have been confused by Swift's remix of Homemade Dynamite on which she strips out Lorde's vocals completely and heavily echoes the backing track to thunderously loud dimensions with what sounds like noises of flatulence.
“It's innovative for sure,” says Denzel Christian of the www.popbarelymatters website. “But it's so subversive you'd almost think Taylor somehow wanted to make Lorde's exceptional original into something people would turn off instantly. That little minx, who is Lorde's BFF incidentally, is just playing with us. I think?”
The DVD film in the handsome collection – which comes in a velvet box with photocopies of some original pre-school artwork by Lorde – is entitled Future Imperfect. It is complex drama-cum-biography of Lorde's years between her debut album Heroin (widely considered her druggie record) and Megalodrama (her she's-just-like-so-totally-up-herself second album). In it she plays herself in three roles: Lorde as she sees herself, Lorde as others see her and Lorde as she really is.
Scripted by M. Night Charlatan and directed by Jim Jarmush, Future Imperfect is shot in gritty and often out-of-focus black'n'white, mostly on Jarmush's iPhone 3G phone to give it “that historic, kinda Hard Day's Night, look, you know?”
“It's an arthouse film for audiences who have no idea what art is” said the director at the film's opening at the Syrian Film Festival last week where it received a rapturous mixed reception and a number of terrorists threats to give it credibility as being controversial.
Lorde – who doesn't speak a word in the 90 minute film other than to shout “green light” to a chauffeur when being driven towards a stoplight in LA – cast the film herself with her BFF Taylor Swift played by Dame Judi Dench, her famous poet mother and union activist Sonja Davies by the fragrantly lustrous Elizabeth Banks and her former manager Scott McGregor by Gary Oldman (still in his Churchill make-up).
Her one-time/sometime producer Joel Little plays himself . . . but as a female anime character.
“They obviously wanted to push the boat out on this one,” said Titanic director James Cameron after seeing a private screening. “Oddly enough, I recognised that boat.”
What has has shocked the easily offended in the Twittersphere is the amount of full frontal nudity in Future Imperfect by Dame Dench . . . and the fact there is no music anywhere in the film, although Lorde has included a bonus (silent) disc in the Megalomania reissue. It is entitled “The Tel Aviv Concert”.
Lorde herself is seen in some extended live performances but at those points the film is completely silent except for the occasional sound of applause, jeers and a drunken British fan wearing an Oasis t-shirt shouting “Get your kit off”.
“It's an overtly feminist film,” says screenwriter Charlatan, “and we wanted to show the tribulations that a young, impossibly talented, good looking, multi-millionaire music star has to endure. That's also why we included the scene where she couldn't get into a New York Club and how she immediately bought the place, fired the doorman and banned that BFF. So there is humour here . . . right up until the Israeli goon squad arrives.”
In an interesting aside, some of the profits from the sale of the $450 set will go to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Save The Maui Dolphin Appeal.
Although the original Megadrama album of last year won enormous praise, critical consensus is divided on the Megagalapagos reissue, except by Lorde's most famous fan David Bowie.
On his website the late star posted a comment last week which simply read, “I stand by what I once said, that she was the future of music. Although I said that once about Adam and the Ants so . . .”
For other articles along these lines check out Absurd Elsewhere here.