This week’s Selection: electronic artist Baths’ third studio album, Obsidian.
This album is a bit of a departure from the norm for me as it is somewhat of a downer. Those of you who know me know I like my music like I like my life: upbeat and full of sunshine. With song titles such as “Worsening,” “Ossuary,” and “Earth Death,” sunshine is something Obsidian is definitely lacking (as you might have been able to tell from the album art, above). However, the music is depressing in a rather interesting way. Throughout the album, Baths displays a fascinating juxtaposition between really upbeat rhythms and super dismal lyrics: “I have no eyes, I have no love, I have no hope.”
This line is from track 6 on the album, “No Eyes.” The lyrics of the song are dark, forlorn, vicious, and very much at odds with the head-bobbing synthy rhythm that runs through the track. It is not until the final seconds of the song, when the bubbly beat is overlaid with a distressing, warped, almost screeching sound, that the music seems to meet up with itself and merge into a cohesive, screaming whole.
Although there is a lot of upper/downer contrast going on in the album, it doesn’t apply to every song. In “Worsening,” Obsidian’s first track, the sighs and wails that make up the beat are quite in concert with the chorus, “I might walk upright, but then again, I might still try to die.” In addition, the mournful violin that comes in towards the end of the track is the perfect background to the final message of the song:
“Where is god when you hate him most
When the mouths in the earth come to bite at my robes
Hell that sits below, of you would do well to bellow
At the cold, the lifeless the worsening souls.”
Now, before you get too turned off by the extremely dark nature of this album, please understand that I speak as someone who really does not like depressing things. Books, movies, shows, music — no matter what the medium, I want my scenes sunny and my endings happy. Be sure to keep this in mind when I tell you that, for all its negativity, Obsidian is a really sick album. Even with the bleakness of its overall message, the music itself is intricate, interesting, and just goddamn good enough to shelter you from any ill will that might try to nestle itself in your head.
See you next weekend!