Some critics say music is cyclical, that it follows unruly patterns – a tide retreating back and forth, with continuous reconstruction of earlier works. It’s a ridiculous euphemism, of course.
In reality, music is parasitical, a constantly shifting and evolving monster, frequently splintering and fracturing; each genre preying on the other for endless inspiration. “Pop” is the Music God’s greatest false prophet: a genre promising continual innovation, but more like a bloated, swollen, serpent – endlessly regenerating as it one gorges eternally on its own tail.
Sky Ferreira’s debut LP ‘Night Time, My Time’ tries to slyly absorb the fashionable reflections of the current zeitgeist – straining itself to become a blissful blend of sparkling synth-pop and grimy indie-rock. In the process it becomes a veiled, pale echo of a purer sound.
This record’s a “gospel” for contemporary pop – one likely to be hailed in a haze of hyperbole as a redemptive force for a short time, only for its early adherents to realise they’ve been hoodwinked by Ariel Rechtshaid’s layered, overwrought production, and LA singer-actress(-and-model) Ferreira’s intricately planned PR machine.
Even when it’s subtly beautiful, as with the opening trio of tracks – ‘Boys’, ‘Ain’t Your Right’ and ‘24 Hours’ – it sounds fabricated, inauthentic, and contrived. As it goes on, though, ‘Night Time, My Time’ unravels like the New Testament, so that by the time of the fourth act, ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’, it becomes clear you’re the victim of a sonic sham. Synths, strings and a heavy smear of distortion coat the tracks like poisoned honey, designed to trigger an emotional response where the core of the songs and the artist herself fail.
Is it palatable? Yes. But so is cheap thrift store candy. And that’s what ‘Night Time, My Time’ is – though it’s wrapped up in burnished, shiny packaging. Like the album’s heinous cover – Ferreira sullen and wide-eyed, showering naked, baring her breasts like a waxwork Helen of Troy – this is cheap theatrics masquerading as art.
Words: Benji Taylor