Monachopsis is defined as the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. It is also a made-up word. Probably, anyway. It comes from a subcategory of new language and words attempting to define feelings. Unique, niche feelings, granted, but feelings nonetheless. Notwithstanding the dictionary work from wordsmith John Koenig who penned The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, there is little else on this new form of dialect. Monachopsis does, by definition, encapsulate an odd and unique feeling of sorrow. It specifies a time and place for an individual, and the experience felt by that is distinct enough to not need or have a word. It does have a phrase, though. Imposter syndrome. A rare beast, but one that cements itself when success is thick, fast and incomprehensible.
Whether The House that Vandebilt is a play on words of the Lars von Trier feature, The House that Jack Built, is completely unknowable. What is knowable though is that the music featured on this recent release from Sunderland-based band Vandebilt is great. There is a presence felt throughout that most bands are still searching for. To manage that on a debut, that’s just showing off. The House that Vandebilt is a showy album. A great one to mark a strong debut for a promising line-up, who provide anthems of hitting the town, painting it red and getting home in time for a bit of reflection.
Buoyed by divorce proceedings, the death of Elvis Presley and custody battles, Bob Dylan took himself to new places and different moods on his 1978 album, Street-Legal. In a long series of reinventions, a constant, shifting ideal that the 81-year-old would employ time and time again throughout his career, Dylan pairs himself with pop power and big groups. A bounty of female backing vocalists accompanies Dylan on his first album after the strong work found on Desire. A shame then, that the recordings proved problematic, the album a critical dud at the time. Despite that, a commercial success. Built, perhaps, on the desire people had to still hear Dylan. One of the many albums he would release that would prove itself over time, rather than immediately.
In understanding the legal system and the highs and lows of it, a lead must provide not just a cutting through of potential jargon, but a reason to care for it. Prima Facie has a rare blend of strong lead and message tied too closely to the profession it looks to discuss and encounter. Barristers and the work they provide. Those unknowable souls whose job is to, well, who knows what their job is. That is one of the many moral lines this Jodie Comer-starring piece manages to encapsulate. Not just the fear of being put on the witness box or the unjust system that batters good people down, but of those on the other side, and how they may feel about putting down those whose position they are fortunate enough to not yet be in.
Where influencers may strive for the public lifestyle, to be picked apart by strangers envious or jealous of their material possessions, what is the end goal? For some, it is the fame of the every day where others are a desperate clamour to keep something personal or professional afloat. Not Okay from director Quinn Shephard feels like a staggering blend of the two that incorporates a few lines of note from journalist Jon Ronson’s seminal piece, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a book that provides Shephard with an outline to build from. But this is fiction. A spillover, an explosive one at that that moves far beyond what can be expected of the everyday oddities, was soon to follow. That is where Not Okay prospers, flies and falls with fatalistic, interesting results.
If listeners are to take note of the sleeve that comes along with 15 Again, then they should expect Suede to mark a chaotic moment of reflection. An infectious rage that would pass over the band as they dare to look back on where they were all those years ago. The line between sincerity and pastiche drew close for comfort on so many tracks that wish to do so, but with the latter taking precedence for those lucky few. Suede is part of the lucky few, a band back on top form ahead of the release of Autofiction, their hotly anticipated new album. With singles She Still Leads Me On and now 15 Again releasing, it’s desperately impossible to get away from the length of time there is still to wait.
An initially empty title clicks into place with infuriating ease once The Fountain rolls its end credits. Of course, the fountain. That fountain. Darren Aronofsky has done it yet again. What has he done, here, though? Desperate scientists looking for miracle cures, the banality of morality poured over once more by a director who believes their vision is the one that will let everyone finally make peace. Not quite the success Aronofsky was gunning for as he piled his cast higher and higher with big names and bigger legacies, but certainly, a feature deeply rooted in its faith not just in a higher power but in its desirable leading performers, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.
A first-time album release between Bob Dylan and The Band was surely set to be a big one. Audiences no doubt know how great lyricists, paired with excellent musicians, are in the business of making brilliant music. They proved that with their earlier recordings from the late 60s which soon became The Basement Tapes. But it wasn’t the case for Planet Waves, where much of the album is spent finding a groove, understanding the efforts or outlook of the other party, or just missing the beat. With a flurry of problems and some glimmers of hope, Planet Waves starts to look like a project solely reliant on a handful of sparks, rather than the boom there was to be seen between the two artists just a few years later on that infamous release.
As forbidden the term “Britpop” has become, there are surprising links between the supposed big four of the genre. Producer Ed Buller, whose work on His ‘n’ Hers was preceded and followed by collaborations with fellow Britpop troupe Suede, understood, vaguely, what that sound could be. His ‘n’ Hers, for all its sexually charged lyrics and usual mannerisms and sly jabs from frontman Jarvis Cocker, is an explosive, relatively unique piece of new wave synthpop that Suede would lean into far more than Pulp ever would. That’s the Buller effect, whose only collaboration with Pulp marked a great success for a band whose album is a near-perfect run-through of iconic indie tracks and deeper cuts.
Barely scraping in at half an hour of music, and Bob Dylan somehow begins to pull a thread that would unravel his image as a trend-setting, electrifying performer and lyricist. Where Johnny Cash’s buried recordings had promise to them, the Johnny 99 days quite remarkable considering the active fight the Man in Black had against his record label at the time, Dylan’s smaller works do not have that same appeal. They are not as electrifying as his proudest works and not all that worth seeking out, as are the works of other artists who were fading at a time when Dylan was rising. Stunted growth appears on Dylan, an album that feels strangely bereft of what makes the man’s work so great.