'Allo. I am Meuny: a silly artist that likes to experiment with silly sounds. I used to post my stuff on youtube. But now I shall post my silly stuffy thingys here too.



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On blonde redhead's "Misery is a butterfly".

Posted by Meuny - 11 days ago

When writing a poem, a song, a story, etc. Normally we draw an overview of what is good for us and what is bad for us, whether through poetry, music or drawing. The way of expressing such feelings evolves according to our social life, and with this, new observations and perspectives on happiness and suffering emerge – because what is born from the human being is and is not a reflection of him: it is something dialectical.

Blonde Redhead, a band that still appears as shoegaze but starts from this experimental sound, which is well expressed in their album “self-titled”, to work more on their songs in an Artrock/indie style on their album “Melody of certain damaged lemons”. But my objective in this text is to portray a critical journey about the process that was done to create the album “Misery is a butterfly”, or as I consider it, the band's magnum opus. In the most varied categories of suffering, a specific relationship is observed, but very well portrayed in the album: when something or someone we love hurts us. “Misery is a butterfly” is a melancholic album from its depressive beginning that already establishes the gray and depressive tone of the album with the song “Elephant woman”, until its end with the hopeful but still somewhat blue “Equus”, which ends the “marathon of sadness, frustration and indisposition” that the works on this album pass on to the listener.

Kazu Makino, Amadeo Pace and Simone Pace translated very well the feeling of misery, emptiness and hopelessness in the work. Right at the beginning of the album, the first song that reaches our ears carries a strong emotional charge, being itself an allegory about the sadness and depression that affected vocalist and bassist Kazu Makino when she had an accident while riding a horse. The accident was serious, leaving her face disfigured, and while recovering, Makino suffered greatly from the change in her appearance. And that was the radical thing that influenced and motivated the band members to synthesize this album.

Elephant woman, par excellence, is a perfect representation of the feeling of frustration, misery and loss. But not because it tries to be as dull and depressing as possible, but because it transforms sadness, emptiness into a journey that takes you to a melancholic place: it's like being transported to a monotone room, in which there is a simple ray of light that comes out. From the crack in the window that lights up the room and shows you the dust rising – what’s more melancholic than that? – Even if this is not the intention of the music, the style, the melody, the harmony and even the percussion style used in the music “personify” the type of “sad tranquility” that we could extract from this scenario that I described – from the pads even the drum cymbals, everything communicates in perfect harmony and formulates a scope that brings your spirit to the deepest abyss; and how else would it be if not like this? – Makino’s high-pitched, yet accurate vocals – who had to relearn how to sing due to facial surgery – reinforces the feeling of melancholy in the songs in which she sings.

Elephant woman as an introduction prepares our hearts for the deepest abyss that is to come as the album progresses. When we move on to the next track (Messenger), the melancholy remains, but the singer this time is Amadeo Pace. And in a track as melancholic as, the lyrics of the song – so poetic and so revealing! – brings with it an emotional charge strong enough to justify Amadeo’s poetry. The Album remains from start to finish reinforcing this melancholic feeling that I described at the beginning of my dissertation. However, this feeling ends there in “Equus”, which is an effective song in bringing us back from this journey of sadness and “giving up” that the album had placed us on. In a “lively” song, bad feelings are overcome and strength is revitalized, a stoic will that gives us back our energy, like a light at the end of the tunnel, a comforting voice in the midst of an anxiety crisis, like a hug cozy and liberating – like good news! A salvation! The album is, in short, a journey through the deepest valleys of sadness and loss – it is, par excellence, a perfect translation of the feeling of mourning. And the more we allow ourselves to be carried away by the tragic orchestra of sadness that this album presents to us, the more the rock bottom seems to accommodate us – as if it were an end, not a means.

Misery is a butterfly is a perfect balance between poetry and music: it translates perfectly the feeling of loss. It is, by itself, an amazing piece of work, but possibly the best part of it is the correlation that we can trace to it with our lives.




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