Inside ‘Muscle Memory’

On Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 I released an EP entitled Muscle Memory. In this post, I will discuss the history of it’s inception, as well as its musical influences and meaning.

PREFACE

The story of Muscle Memory begins on Christmas Day, 2017 –

My cousin Alessandra is an incredibly talented drummer, and I’ve always wanted to record music with her. After spending Christmas Day together with our families, at the end of the night we found ourselves chatting, hanging out, sharing songs, and began to talk about recording music together. I knew of a studio near me in Woodland Park, NJ called The Den and decided to reach out. In the past, I wanted to book time, but had always been somewhat trepidatious to bite the bullet, fearful and anxious on both an emotional and financial level. It’s something I had never really done before. But I knew I had these songs I really loved and thought had potential, and I wanted to give them the full studio treatment.

Everything I released as an artist prior to this point (with the exception of one or two tracks) had all been self-recorded from my very humble home recording environment, using a Macbook (with ProTools and/or Logic) and an Mbox Mini. But over the years, hardware aged and died, hard drives failed, software became outdated, and eventually I didn’t have the means to record at home anymore. And at that time, I didn’t have the money to just go out and buy more gear So with that situation in mind, and having already talked to Alessandra, I emailed The Den my most recent recorded material as a point of reference for my sound (These were my Unreleased Demos – which I had recorded in hopes of getting those songs professionally recorded with some musician friends/acquaintances of mine circa 2014-ish?, but those plans fizzled out and never came to fruition). I soon got an email back from Matt Maroulakos, and we set a meeting for the evening of Thursday, January 11th, 2018.

Around this time, I was in my last semester at Montclair State and remember driving over to the studio after work (from my on-campus IT job). The sun having gone done hours before, I remember the crisp, cold air of the night and driving 46 West to the nearby studio, the sky already blue-black and filled with stars blinded by light pollution. The meeting went well and I remember Matt showing me around the studio. We had a good conversation about my influences, the songs I was thinking about recording, and how I wanted my cousin Alessandra to get involved and drum for on the recordings for me. Afterwards, we parted ways and I recall leaving feeling really jazzed and excited about making music.

Over the next few months, it became apparent that because of my and Alessandra’s physical distance (she goes to school in Boston), along with our own busy college schedules, that it was going to be incredibly challenging, if not practically impossible, not just to meet up to record, but to also write and practice these songs. Not knowing any other drummers (and not being a drummer myself), I became focused on others things and kind of forgot all about The Den, chalking it all up to, ‘it wasn’t meant to be’.

At the end of May / beginning of June I got an email from Matt following up. Had I connected with my cousin? How were the songs coming along? I had just graduated Montclair State a few weeks prior and that summer my schedule was ridiculously loaded with me working sometimes five or six days a week. But I started to think about this. Maybe I could make this work, even if just on my days off. Even if Alessandra and I couldn’t collaborate, Matt had given me some info on his drummer friend (the great Dana LaMarca). If I could maybe get him to play on the songs, that is if my songs were good enough at all, I could still do this. I soon sent Matt a voicenote for a song called, “Gotta Get Out” and decided we’d do a one song trial-run to see how it went. We then looped in Dana on email, went back and forth with dates and musical references, and eventually settled on having our first session on Sunday, August 11th. The tracking for “Gotta Get Out” went so well, I soon decided that I wanted to do 4 more songs and self-release a 5 song EP. This is how Muscle Memory was born.

RECORDING

Most of the guitar you hear on Muscle Memory is Matt’s 1996 ES-135 hollowbody Gibson (which I loved playing). “Gotta Get Out” has a little bit of what I like to call my “Franken-Strat” on it (my 2003-4 Fender Squier that’s had a recent-ish setup, with a new input jack, new pickguard, and pickups installed over the years). The acoustic guitar on “Gotta Get Out” was recorded with my 2012 (?) Tanglewood Sundance (which I have now since sold). The beginning acoustic guitar on “I’m Feeling Lost” was recorded with Matt’s Takamine in the control room; I sang the first line through the talkback mic to get that distorted-ish sound. The beginning (and end) acoustic guitar parts were recorded using my Takamine (G-Series) in the space between the live room and the control room.

Bass was recorded using a natural wood, really heavy Fender P-Bass, (also Matt’s), and the primary guitars on “No Wonder She’s Alone” and “All Your Books” were played using my hella-heavy 2018 Gibson Les Paul Traditional,  but which I bought for myself (on sale, baby!) over the course of recording this EP. I wanted to do some Jawbreaker-esque / “Condition Oakland”-esque spoken word stuff laid over the solo for “No Wonder She’s Alone” (I was going to use a Janeway monologue from the Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Fair Haven”), but Matt and I ultimately decided against it and I think that was the right choice. That sort of thing could still could happen in the future though, either with another song and/or another piece of dialog. I recorded all the vocals to this EP (perhaps with exception of “Gotta Get Out”) using a Shure SM7B microphone with the lights off in the live room.

We recorded the tracks in the following order: “Gotta Get Out”, “Talk Me Down”, “I’m Feeling Lost”, “All Your Books”, “No Wonder She’s Alone”. It’s amazing to me how much the structure of these songs evolved over the recording process, and how I hadn’t really finished writing the lyrics to “No Wonder” until after we recorded it. A lot of the guitar solos, fills, and bass lines I would figure out on the spot, or write at home and then bring it back for the next session. I almost recorded a song called “A Funeral March”, but decided it wouldn’t be the best fit for the record and that it was a little too rhythmically ambiguous for my first, legit studio recording (imo). Also, Dana absolutely killed it on drums. He went into recording these songs with a recorded voicenote of me singing over an acoustic guitar and nothing else, and a list of song references. That was it. We had one rehearsal for “No Wonder She’s Alone” since the transitions between the sections were a little more complicated than the other songs. Everything else was done on the spot and he basically wrote the parts your hear on the EP in the moment.

Muscle Memory was recorded over the span of a year, between August 2018 and August 2019, all on my days off from work. Matt started mixing in September, and Mike Piacentini began the mastering process soon thereafter. The album’s been done for a few months now, but I chose May 20th to release it because it is the shared birthday of my maternal grandfather and Captain Kathryn Janeway, both whom have shaped my life in a multitude of ways. But perhaps that is topic for another post. 🙂

MEANING

The term “Muscle Memory” is used when describing the way our bodies and minds remember how to do something over a period time; By repeating that action over and over again, it eventually becomes so second-nature, we don’t even have to think about it anymore – We just do it, we just know how; It’s learning via repetitive motion. It’s a term I found myself saying a lot before and during the course of this recording process. Hell, I still use it now. When I think about all my musical knowledge, self-taught or otherwise, it’s all muscle memory to me.

But then while considering what to title this EP, I began to think about how muscle memory can have a negative connotation too, as in behaviors where we’re constantly unfair to ourselves (or to others). Muscle memory kind of can became this “negative mantra on loop repeatedly” (See I’m Feeling Lost!). When we do this, we risk getting stuck in mentally unhealthy thought patterns and self-sabotage; Negative behavior and negative thoughts can start to feel normal after awhile, dragging us down and effecting our mental state, making us constantly anxious and at times, depressed. If we go through the motions enough times, it can start to feel increasingly difficult to break out of these “prisons of our own design” (see No Wonder She’s Alone). These are things I have struggled with all my life.

But as the great Carl Sagan once said, “We are made of star stuff”. And if that is true, then we as human beings, whose origins start in the stars above, we must then have the power to transcend that negativity and become better somehow. If it’s already in our DNA, it must be ancient history, ancient muscle memory and maybe, just maybe, we can tap into that powerful potential and in turn overcome any trial whether emotional or physical. This is what I attempt every morning when I wake up and get out of bed. This is essentially what I would like the listener to take away from this EP.

INFLUENCES

These are songs that influenced me, whether rhythmically, sonically, or emotionally. The hyperlinked song titles lead to a Spotify playlist of the referenced tracks listed below:

“No Wonder She’s Alone”

  • “I Could Be With Anyone” – Kevin Devine
  • “Feel Like Rain” – Motion City Soundtrack
  • “Nothing Left” – John-Allison Weiss
  • “She Doesn’t Get It” – The Format
  • “Chia-Like, I Shall Grow” – Say Anything
  • “Shiksa (Girlfriend)” – Say Anything
  • “American Hearts” – Piebald

“Gotta Get Out”

  • “Cemetry Gates” – The Smiths
  • “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” – Weezer
  • “Kiss Me” – Sixpence None The Richer
  • “Upstate Blues” – Into It. Over It.
  • “You & Me & Mt. Hood” – Pet Symmetry
  • “The Last Lie I Told” – Saves The Day
  • “State Trooper” – Bruce Springsteen
  • “Shatter Your Lungs” – The Get Up Kids
  • “Capital H” – Motion City Soundtrack
  • “It’s Summertime” – The Flaming Lips

“I’m Feeling Lost!”

  • “Midnight: Carroll Street” – Into It. Over It.
  • “Atoms Smash” – Weatherbox
  • “Scattered” – Green Day
  • “Radio Hive” – Weatherbox
  • “Connecticut Steps” – Into It. Over It.
  • “Kick-Flips” – Weatherbox
  • “Ghost Malls” – Weatherbox
  • “shoes (the sneaker song) – Oso Oso
  • “Let It Happen” – Jimmy Eat World
  • “Familiar Theme” – Somos
  • “Revelation” -Balance And Composure
  • “Permanently Lost” – Somos
  • “No Eq” – Into It. Over It.
  • “Third Engine” – Saves The Day
  • “Wearing The Tie” – The Early November
  • “Lives Of Others” – Somos

“Talk Me Down”

  • “Bastards of Young” – The Replacements
  • “Kill” – Jimmy Eat World
  • “Take Our Cars Now!” – Saves The Day
  • “The Shape of Love to Come” – Say Anything
  • “Familiar Theme” – Somos
  • “No Amount of Sound” – Into It. Over It.

“All Your Books”

  • “get there (when you’re there)” Oso Oso
  • “Call Off The Bells” – The Early November

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’d like to confess that lyrically, this is me at my most vulnerable. There are songs on here that still scare me a little. Aside from the overall intended message of this EP (see above re: Star Stuff), what I hope the listener can glean from listening is that they’re not alone and that it’s okay to feel hopeless and helpless and weird and in-betweenish. Making this EP was an invaluable learning process in terms of recording, writing, feeling, and emoting. I also find that these lyrics can (and will) take on new meanings, especially in how they now exist within the climate of this current pandemic-affected world we now live ourselves in.

THANK YOU

Creating this album would not have been possible without the support of my parents and my brother John, as well as the few friends I played this for and sent this to over the course of the recording process. I am so grateful for you all. Also thank you to all the artists listed above for creating wonderful, deep, thought-provoking, and captivating music. You are all my heroes. Creating this piece of art, this document of my life has been an unforgettable experience. Thank you Matt and Dana for your talents, and also for being so incredibly patient and professional. This project would have been impossible without your help and coordination.  I’m excited for the future. Thank you for bringing this baby to life.

CREDITS

Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Roe O’Brien

Drums – Dana LaMarca

Xylophone on “No Wonder She’s Alone” – Roe O’Brien

Tambourine on “Gotta Get Out” – Dana LaMarca

Violin on “All Your Books” – Nicole Scorsone

Produced by Matt Maroulakos and Roe O’Brien

Recorded, mixed & engineered by Matt Maroulakos at The Den Recording in Woodland Park, NJ

Additional engineering provided by Shane Furst and Dylan Saraciniello

Mastered by Mike Piacentini

Cover Art by Dominic Sylvester

All songs written by Roe O’Brien

Joyce Manor vs. Stage Diving

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor shame stage-diver at show

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor frontman calls out another stage-diver during show


I’m curious what people think about this.

Is this not similar to what Kathleen Hanna did calling girls to the front?

I happen to think it is.

A lot of people are giving Joyce Manor a lot of shit for being “anti-stage diving” saying things like, “it’s part of the scene and you can’t take it out”, “don’t be in a band if you don’t want this shit to happen” and “JM sucks anyway” – Blah, blah, blah.

But you know what? They’re the band. And they make the rules when they’re on stage. It is a matter of respect (to the band and your fellow concert mates) and personal responsibility. People get hurt and it’s not pretty.

A few years ago, I saw Bayside at Irving Plaza. My friend and I were talking to a girl before their set. She might’ve been 4″10′ and a 100 lbs wet. But she was a huge fan of the band and wanted to see them up close. Once they began, we lost her in the pit and didn’t see her again. That is, until after the show by the stage door. Turns out she dislocated her knee and had to call an ambulance because she couldn’t fucking walk.

Even though it’s unpopular, I give Joyce Manor a lot of credit because not only is it about time someone said something about this, but they’re sticking up for something they believe it despite the status quo or giving in to what everyone else thinks. 9 times out of 10, I guarantee a lot of fans who end up getting hurt in the pit are women – which then discourages them to get up close and be involved in the show. I know because it’s happened to me.

I almost died in a pit about 4 years ago. And this is no exaggeration. I really thought I was going to die. I was probably in the middle of the crowd (not even up close – which now I come to realize that’s probably the safest place you can be: either all the way in the back or all the way up front, on the barricade), I had just turned 20, and I’m short. I think I’m about 5″1′. But my favorite band (Saves The Day) was playing and I felt absolutely compelled to get in there with a bunch of other die-hard fans and be a part of it – so I jumped in. I was fine until a couple songs in and the band picked up the tempo to an older track of theirs that everybody loved. I was pushed back with such force I couldn’t stop it, or get out. I immediately fell backwards and it was worse than a rip current. It wasn’t water I was in, it was people, and my limbs were flailing everywhere beyond my control, bending; I was being crushed. Over the music I screamed for help and held up my hands, hoping someone would pull me out. Lucky for me, someone did. I profusely thanked this angel for saving me, took a deep breath, and after the song ended, I squeezed my way out. I didn’t go in a pit for about 3 years after that happened – out of fear.

I’ve also seen people get hurt crowd surfing. I saw a show at Six Flags my freshman year of high school. Some guy was crowd surfing towards the front and there must have been some miscommunication or something, and he got dropped – hard. Probably from about 5 feet up. It was a hard fall. And I watched him just lay there, unable to do anything. Because what do you do? You can’t reach him, you can’t talk to him or help him get out. I’ve been kicked in the face, pushed and shoved at shows. And yeah, you can say it’s part of the scene and that this shit happens all the time – because it does. But what about the women (and non-“macho” guys) that want to get up close and see their favorite bands? What happens to them? Should they just not come? Sit out and feel non-included their whole life just because of their size? What kind of scene is that where the community you’re part of doesn’t give a shit about your well-being? We should be more friendly, supportive, check on each other and make sure we’re okay.

I’ve also been to shows where the pit/crowd surfing/stage diving experience has been great and not a problem namely, Motion City Soundtrack and The Julie Ruin. The vibe was different. I didn’t feel like I was fighting for air just to stand.

Joyce Manor isn’t even a band I would imagine stage-diving to (at least when it comes to Never Hungover Again). They’re a great band with good music, but the vibe is just not there for that kind of thing. This is a conversation that needs to be had and admire Joyce Manor for sticking to their guns and addressing this issue.

When the band you’re seeing is asking you to do something, whether it’s clapping your hands or requesting you not stage-dive, you should oblige – Especially when it’s something positive and potentially helpful to the show and/or the rest of the audience.

But what do I know? You be the judge.

Bottle Up And Explode!

A friend of mine on Facebook just shared this, and since it was less than 3 minutes long I figured it was sufficient enough for my attention. Is that weird? The way out mind works, that is. If it had been 5 minutes long, I’m not sure if I would have been willing to commit. But what the fuck am I saying? This is Elliott Smith we’re talking about.

I’ve been a huge Elliott Smith fan for about 3 years now. I had heard a few of his songs before but didn’t really get the bug until a few years later – my sophomore year of college specifically.

I fell in love with Figure 8 first. Damn, what an album. Almost every song is pure gold. And after Figure 8 I became obsessed with XO, specifically “Waltz #1”. I would listen to that song over and over and over and over and just cry in my room. I was at the tail-end of getting over someone, and it was the perfect hemlock to aid in my misery.

There are moments on XO that are sweet, some introspective, and others that are downright edgy. That’s probably one of the reasons I like it so much; It’s so varied and different. The songwriting is impeccable, and the lyrics feel just out of reach of full comprehension.

I love Elliott’s performance here because it is so edgy. He’s crying out, more vocally aggressive than usual.

Too bad I was only 8 years old when this show happened

That’s why it pains me a little to go to Irving Plaza and other venues I know Elliott played. There’s a sense of history and legend there that I was just too young to have any knowledge of at the time; I feel like I missed out maybe. Sometimes I close my eyes and try to smell the air of sweat and beer, hear the crowd jabber and imagine if this night could have felt anything like ones past.

Weatherbox @ Asbury Lanes – 7/15/2014

Brian Warren

“Every time we headline a show, I’m almost confident no one’s gonna show up,” confesses Weatherbox frontman Brian Warren in between songs.

The crowd looks around and lightly chuckles. It’s hard to believe the thought even crosses his mind. For a dark and stormy Tuesday night, Asbury Lanes holds a sizeable crowd. Everyone is standing shoulder-to-shoulder, eagerly singing along, witnessing in dumbstruck amazement the rhythmic complexity and melodious lines Weatherbox is notoriously known for delivering without fail. Their newest album, Flies In All Directions is an absolute must-listen. Dikembe’s Steven Gray has already termed it, “the album of the decade”.

A mid-July evening in Asbury Park is likely to encounter boardwalk nightlife, beach-goers, and other summertime revelers – but not tonight. Outside it’s bleak and desolate. Lightning repetitively strikes the sky, thunder rolls one boom after another. Beyond the door is a steady remainder of a dissipating torrential downpour, just beginning to slow down from monsoon-like proportions. What were gales of wind, perhaps strong enough to carry someone away to the edge of the coastline and deposit them into the surf, are now dying down to light ocean breezes.

But despite the slightly foreboding, yet fading Day After Tomorrow vibe outside, NJ locals D’Arcy kick off the night, warming up the crowd with throaty yells, guitar solos, and feedback aplenty, all steeped in a 90s Grunge reeducation.

Next up are Asbury natives, Ghost House. Though reminiscent of The Wonder Years, frontman Zach West holds his own as he and guitarist Howie Cohen exchange vocals and sideways glances.

Dikembe3When Dikembe hits the stage, the vibe of the room noticeably changes. The crowd
quickly shuffles closer with rapt attention. After sorting through some minor technical difficulties (frontman Steven Gray’s guitar is uncooperative tonight, prompting him to borrow another from Ghost House), the lads tune up, drummer David Bell removes his shirt, and Dikembe begins. The Gainesville, FL quartet’s new record (Mediumship) is officially out. They play some new songs off it including “24 Karats”, “Gets Harder” and “Donuts In a Six Speed” where many times it appears bassist Randy Reddell’s hands are going to come flying right off from the rapid intensity of his playing. Dikembe’s set is nothing short of electrifying. The heart and soul of their performance is palpable, spawning many
to move about in half-dance, half-head nod. They close out with a powerful cover of “Where Is My Mind” that the Pixies themselves would have little choice but to bow down in humble appreciation and respect. Their departure leaves the crowd hungry for more.

Weatherbox2Before dominating the evening, Weatherbox approaches the stage tweaking their instruments and amps, fiddling with pedalboard settings, getting the tone just right. They immediately launch into “Pagan Baby”, the first track off Flies In All Directions. Brian Warren brazenly sings out: “Baked into the crust, I’m comfy, reading eulogies / You heard I was a nice boy; Well, you didn’t hear it from me”. The rest of the night rolls along without a hitch as Warren leads into more new songs like “Kickflips” and “Drag Out”, complete with the album-identical nearly neverending ending, the crowd screaming in unison, “Maybe magic don’t come back, don’t come back / COME BACK, COME BACK”. At this point, Warren is visibly pouring sweat, his greasy, tangled hair becoming more matted and knotted with each heart-heavy sway. Throughout tWeatherbox3he performance, he bounces between a black and red Telecaster and a semi-hollow body Epiphone with untrimmed strings flailing. He looks like a madman possessed, his troubled soul wrung out to dry. For not having played on the album, Warren’s accompanying band is pretty close to perfect, laying down every lick, fill, and riff with uncanny precision. His eyes wander around the room on “Dark All Night For Us” softly singing, “Don’t suffocate your lungs, hoping to be forever young / You can’t make art in a vacuum state or become something great alone / You need a friend to depend on”. Towards the end of their set, Dikembe’s Steven Gray gets on stage one last time to sing Andy Hull’s (Manchester Orchestra, Bad Books) verse on “The Devil and Whom”, and to the delight of more seasoned Weatherbox fans, the band closes out with “Broken Glowsticks” off EP, Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar.

When Warren sings, “You won’t find a band like mine”, the room nods along in rhythmic testament with knowledge of its inherent truth. Weatherbox is a jeweled ship in an ocean of mediocrity with the ability to quell any storm, so that all may come and bear witness.


Dikembe7Dikembe6 Dikembe1

Weatherbox_Drums AJ_Weatherbox

Of Course Lana Del Rey is Controversial


Read: Vox – Here’s Why Lana Del Rey is so controversial

When I first listened to Lana Del Rey, it was my junior year of college. I was sitting in my Advanced Electronic and Computer Music class and my professor put on the music video for “Blue Jeans”.

We’d have an assignment later on that week to analyze the production of “Video Games” and read an detailed article about it, written Lana-Del-Rey-Ultraviolence-ThatGrapeJuiceup by Sound on Sound. If I remember correctly, throughout the whole class time we watched an assortment of music videos talking about sounds, panning, style, song structure maybe? Just basically bouncing ideas and thoughts around in a communal analysis of what we were hearing (and seeing). Lana wasn’t on my radar. That day was the first time I had ever heard her name.

I’ve always prided myself in thinking I listen to a lot of diverse music. I make a point to do so; All genres, from all different time periods, from current Top40 Pop (which I loathe) to Delta Blues. It all has educational value to me. You can even see in my ‘Boombox‘ tab above – I meticulously keep track of what I listen through via last.fm, list artists I plan on checking out (“Playlist on Deck”), am logging my favorite and what I consider to be the best albums of 2014, and am eager to hear your thoughts and opinions as to what else I should be listening to. I have a very open mind when it comes to this stuff. I don’t want to miss out a song or artist or album that could change my life.

“Blue Jeans” was slow. A lot slower than the music that was out at the time. And I was completely put off by Lana’s singing. What the hell was this soft falsetto bullshit? Where was her emotion? What a fake, a phony.

But the collaged music video was enticing and the lyrics, very mysterious. There was a storyline there – definitely heartbreak of some kind. Who was this girl, really?

As I delved into my assignment that weekend to analyze the production of “Video Games” and listened over and over and over with my studio headphones, I became very aware of the goosebumps and chills that spread throughout my body with each listen. I suddenly couldn’t deny it anymore: I’d warmed up to Lana – and considerably so. I began to really fall in love with it all; The whole package – vocals, lyrics, production, instrumentation. I realized its perfection. It was beautiful. My heart was telling me so, dragging me into her hypnotic vortex of mystery.

Through my own undeniable emotional responses, I began to notice how much feeling was actually being expressed through Lana’s sad, low, gentle, cool-as-a-cucumber vocal delivery. I related to it; That kind of apathetic, roll-with-it attitude you get when you’re stoned, drowning head-over-heels in unrequited love, somehow loving every moment of your misery.

I had a dawning realization that you didn’t have to be a Whitney Houston or Christina Aguilera to show the audience you were conveying emotion through a performance. (Not exactly the same vein, but think of Elliott Smith) It’s in what Lana wasn’t blatantly expressing that was being expressed. That’s the best way I can describe it. When you get it, you get it. You feel it. It’s an affirmation. It’s seeing something that was never there before that was in front of your eyes the whole time…Or in this case, in front of your ears.

I ended up buying Born To Die on vinyl, becoming smitten with every song on the album, practically kicked myself for not getting tickets in time to see her perform at Irving Plaza that year, and have been a fan ever since that day I listened to “Video Games” 100 times in a row, trying to convert friends into believers ever since I recognized the absolute beauty in the heartbroken, melancholy, troubled, Hollywood starlet persona that is Lana Del Rey.

Lana Del Rey is controversial because she is a unnatural beauty, she is not a rags to riches story, but is a daughter of a wealthy father portraying lanadelrey_png_630x535_q85a character; She brings a sense of old Hollywood values and a black and white sentimentality to her music. I suppose it’s ironic that I view her as authentic; I’m not sure where Elizabeth Grant ends and Lana Del Rey begins. Where does fact meet fiction? Perhaps we’ll never know. Perhaps we’re not supposed to. Either way, I cannot simply dismiss Lana because she is different from the rest of the Pop swill we’ve been fed for so long. She is a cool breeze of fresh air and a welcome change to contemporary Pop music (which if I may say so, has been becoming increasingly stale).

Lana is changing everything we think we know about the Pop landscape; She’s playing with our expectations. Lana is the embodiment of a post-modern popstar – Reappropriating past styles and sounds and integrating them into her persona. She expresses her sexuality without seeming trashy, her sadness without compromising beauty, her stories all the while keeping her honesty in tact. Though on the surface she may seem submissive and emotionless, she is actually one of the strongest acts out there today. Lana is not easily swayed; Her coolness is confidence. She exudes the atmosphere of days gone by, but is bringing something back into the present – something important.

It’s something worth listening to.