B L A C K I E – Remains
I don’t want what you want. I don’t feel what you feel. See, I’m stuck in a city, but I belong in a field.
– Julian Casablancas, “Heart in a Cage”
Before I walk out the door, I hear my momma shout “Michael, watch out for cars!” Now, I”m twenty four and there’s no warning for all the dangers that’s around. Where’s my helmet?
– B L A C K I E, “This Blood”
Throughout his whole career, Michael LaCour aka B L A C K I E has worn the tag “humanist” upon his sleeve like a punk tourniquet. He owns and holds dearly his ability to be human and feel everything around him. This means that he will fight against anything that seeks to both effectively destroy his and the public’s mind, body and soul (even if he counters that with the use of drugs). By mixing hardcore and screw music (and tackling many other genres and textures along the way, such as jazz), his name is a vehicle for all of his inner anxieties, his resistances and his career-long desire to “fuck the world, and love himself”.
If there is anything you should take away from Remains, it’s that everything that seems harmless doesn’t mean it is. It’s that maybe paranoia isn’t completely a concept of being crazy, and it’s a last resort, as far as protecting yourself. It’s realizing that the one thing that is capable of killing natural stuff can possibly kill you, too. If it doesn’t do that, it can at least silence you. By you, it doesn’t just mean physically, but also personality-wise, spiritually, mentally. Even worse, technology, which was meant to be an enhancer of sorts, a tool for the advancement of humankind, becomes merely a tool of distraction and control towards the human race.
Reverbed drums usually prominent on 80s new wave and saxophone squeals line the album like punches to the face and discomforting car horns. It’s a maximalist sound representing trauma. When he isn’t prodding at homophobic types on “Run From Desire”, he suggests that humans return to a form of self-control, while similarly prodding those controlled by the larger system (obviously “Return to Control”), and uses two tracks to further illustrate how such militant reactions towards outside control and abuse has drained him (the more grime-leaning “Three Ways” and “Rest in My Brain”).
As far as “Rest In My Brain” goes, both his vocal delivery and the mournful music background suggests him being close to defeat. “I can’t explain how we will remain” quickly switches to “I can’t complain, you look the same” within a minute or two. Those two lines suggests tiredness of the mind in trying to figure out the world, and a sense of toxic apathy, either from his or the world’s end. But don’t think for a second that “Rest in My Brain” is the beginning of his slowing down. “Turn You Off” is the kind of album-ender that you play while you deactivate your Twitter account and smash your computer screen en route.
Where technology was once used to try and enhance and simplify the life of the public, it has instead been used to entertain the ignorant and dumb. Dare I say ANOTHER one of which. Television was once called “the idiot box” for a reason. If Remains says anything, it’s that maybe it’s time to cut the wires and return back to humanity. Or maybe not do it, but maintain a sense of awareness.
But who would ever want to listen to a message like that?