Run The Jewels And Lady Gaga Grasp The Moment
Time is moving very slowly and simultaneously in a rush. January 2020 was no April 2020 and May 2020 is not June 2020 in a world standing by. This June the impossible happened, COVID-9 moved beneath the crease as protests reached centerstage in 140 cities across the USA. And yesterday, with the indictment of all four policemen for the murder of George Floyd, protesters danced the cupid shuffle in pure joy and the semblance of justice.
May was all about Fiona Apple and the #metoo of isolation and broken romances on the wheels of toxic masculinity, June started with Killer Mike telling the citizens of Atlanta to stop looting their own stores then moved forward to two new releases.
First, last Friday Lady Gaga’s post-futuristic dance album Chromatica took isolation, quarantine, aloneness, and told us to party all over it. It is music for the second act of the pandemic, one where the future is somewhere over there if you will just dance towards it. Next, yesterday Run The Jewels dropped RTJ4 – El-P and Killer Mike’s first album in four years and a spectacular work of hip hop meets #blacklivesmatter.
I have been a huge Killer Mike fan since “R.A.P. Music” and a brilliant early evening set at the Studio At Webster Hall in 2012 (here) but much less so Run The Jewels, whose 2014 set at Governors Ball wasn’t all that great and opening for Lorde in 2018 didn’t help much.
Back to Gaga, I didn’t much like her last THREE albums and a set at Citi Field where she hit the stage post-10pm in 2017 (here) drove me insane. I lambasted A Star Is Born endlessly for months… but that was then: Chromatica is what we went right now.
Between the two albums, they are overwhelmingly pro the joy of living even in the midst of the horror of living, Gaga is all energy and movement, RTJ all anger as an energy, between the two they lift you off your sofa and ready to dance and scream in togetherness. They are perfect for this moment because as the world says, “hey look at the US – how useless they are” after ignoring that if ithe protests happened in the other two superpowers countries, both Putin and Xi would be killing off the protesters while hiding it from public view, and as for Europe… where is your music?
The US may well be declining and falling, could be on the verge of civil war, but any country where you can wake up to Chromatica and RTJ4 can’t be all bad.
Chromatica – Lady Gaga – A
RTJ4 – Run The Jewels – A