Alex Cameron: Oxy Tunes Album Critique3 min read
Alex Cameron is just as a lot a musician as he is a effectiveness artist. He can take on personas—usually that of a sleazebag everyman, the sort of person who frequents strip clubs and casinos on weekday afternoons. His get the job done is intentionally provocative, intentionally transgressive, and seldom severe. In an era of indie songs that can occasionally feel so self-consciously woke that it suffocates, Cameron can feel like a breath of refreshing air. He’s a latter-day Harmony Korine character: Alien in Spring Breakers actively playing Britney Spears on a piano with white-male cornrows and grills, or the titular Beach Bum strolling all-around the pool in a pink marabou bathrobe. On 2016’s lo-fi opus, Jumping the Shark, Cameron gave off the vibe of a down on his luck marriage ceremony singer accomplishing Suicide b-sides. On 2017’s Pressured Witness, he penned a propulsive, weirdly going ’80s synth-pop ballad that included rhyming “Down Syndrome Jew,” with “the actual estate crew.” His tunes, at its most effective, is a a bit problematic—but needed—reprieve from the standing quo, a excellent giggle.
Oxy Tunes is a different beast, but it does not try to be. Cameron’s fourth file tries all of the similar tricks that designed his audio so powerful before in his job, but with far considerably less achievements. The sleazebag bit has grown aged and the character-analyze work tries to be transgressive but is in fact just trite and, crucially, not significantly amusing. The ’80s audio palette that gave so substantially daily life into his before documents now has lapsed into pastiche. “Sara Jo,” has a catchy melody, blasts of saxophone, and chintzy synths. But it is catchy in the way that a track in the grocery store is, something tinny and distant. You are singing along though figuring out the calorie written content of S’Mores Pop-Tarts, even even though you do not know the lyrics. Which, by the way, includes Cameron singing the phrase, “Who informed my brother that his youngsters are gonna die from this vaccine?” a bunch of times.
Probably the 1 humorous issue about the record is its name. It’s Roxy Music minus the “R”, an homage to the drug recognized as Oxycontin. It’s really edgy things, which is a grim caveat of his fewer than compelling social commentary to be identified in. Cameron tries to display that he is a) completely not woke and not fascinated in getting Computer but also b) not like, a overall nihilist, he’s fully a cool, self-mindful, caring dude. Search no more than “Cancel Society,” which is both of those a critique of terminate lifestyle and a critique of people who believe terminate culture is poor. “Lily-white/But I use ebonics when I’m on the net,” Cameron croons in a falsetto, “Because everything’s dope/And I can barely hide it, newborn.” He’s calling out hypocrites and tradition vultures with the form of air of anyone who thinks he’s enlightened, but the meta nature of the song will make it feel even additional slimy than if it in fact experienced one thing novel or attention-grabbing to say about terminate culture—which it does not.
The issue is, Cameron desires you to assume he’s entirely in on the joke. You see, these tunes are meant to sound bad. But the self-consciousness definitely only carries you so significantly in an album that appears like Costco-model Roxy Music on reason. The spartan creation is some of the weakest in Cameron’s job, mainly consisting of low-priced-sounding software program plugins and it’s possible a handful of vintage synthesizers. More than anything at all, it takes on the top quality of a limited story composed by a young student making an attempt to cram as quite a few neon lights, bongs, uzis, blow careers, g-strings, and jokes into 10 web pages as doable. For how clearly wise, formidable, and upsettingly tuneful Cameron is, it’s a pity that he employs his expertise for these exercises in sophistry, songs that feels so vacuous and fleeting that it becomes just one with the really modernity it seeks to lampoon. I guess which is quite humorous.
Purchase: Rough Trade