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The Ultimate 1989 Mix Tape, by Swift & Adams

1989-taylor-swift-ryan-adam1989. The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, et cetera, but they cannot change the fact that Taylor Swift released an undeniably good pop album.

Now, having spawned five monstrous singles, Swift the songwriter is getting some of the credit she’s due, as in this amazing Grammy-Pro seminar where she exposes the process of writing and recording the LP.

I play in a cover band that’s touched at a least a third of these songs, and I occasionally play the album front to back on acoustic guitar for EV. I already know it has great bones, but also that some of Swift and her producers’ flourishes don’t translate well to an acoustic guitar.

In September, storied songwriter Ryan Adams covered the entire thing front-to-back. This is the sort of treatment typically reserved for gods of rock like Dylan or the Beatles, or at least Hall & Oates.

My question was: is it any good? And, more intriguingly: is it any better?

Let’s be clear here – I’m not approaching this head-to-head as a look at Ryan Adams mansplaining how great these songs are. They were already great. I’ve been on the praise-train of 1989 since first listen – I think it’s a timeless pop masterpiece that’s at once current and retro. But Adams is an ultimate chameleon, able to pen squalling rockers and sensitive ballads, many of which have been hits in hands other than his own. What happens when we reverse the process and bring someone else’s hits to him?

That’s the draw for me here. Adams is stepping onto a cover band high wire by bringing his own arrangements to some of the most-heard songs of the past year. If he delivers too many straight-up takes his effort will be castigated, but if he tears them all apart too much people will complain they’re unrecognizable.

What’s a master singer-songwriter to do? As it turns out, make a pretty damn compelling LP that would stand on its own just fine without the Swift comparisons. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist – so let’s make all the comparisons! The result? The ultimate 1989 mixtape.

“Welcome to New York”
Advantage: Adams

This is the only song on 1989 that feels fake and plastic to me, both in sound and sentiment. It’s sort of necessary as an introduction to the concept of Taylor Swift as the big city pop girl, but in the scope of the LP as a whole it’s disposable. Ryan Adams wisely snatches up the stylistic mismatch to recreate this as a Bruce Springsteen stomper, and it’s perfect. That’s what I want to hear welcoming me to the Big Apple.

blankspacetaylor1“Blank Space”
Advantage: Swift

No matter how you slice it, this song is pretty sparse. Swift builds the verses mostly with passing synths, which can make it a bitch to cover in an interesting way – we cut it from our sets in favor of “Bad Blood.” Ryan Adams goes to an Elliott Smith placeson it with a tremulous voice and two Travis-picked guitars mixed over one another. In sum, it takes this song to a much more wistful place. It’s a smart take, but I enjoy Swift’s big neon pre-kiss-off version more.

Notable Lyric Modification: “So damn reckless”

Advantage: Swift

Ryan turns this into a sort of big 80s stadium rocker (or maybe an Arcade Fire outtake?). He messes with the sorta robotic Swiftian cadences a bit too much and doesn’t take all of Swift’s interval jumps (especially from her brilliant pre-choruses). Also, the main verse riff just isn’t making the best use of that Bm7 riff – I’ve done more interesting stuff with it. This song has some of the most interesting elements to work with, but Adams seems to just blow by them.

Notable Lyric Modification: “Daydream Nation look in your eye.”

“Out of the Woods”
Advantage: Adams

E and were just discussing how silly this sounds when we play it acoustic. You’re just chanting “OUTOFTHEWOODSOUTOFTHEWOODS” and trying to sneak in breaths where you can. Do you suppose Taylor Swift really wrote it that way sitting at her acoustic guitar, or was that a later insert? (Actually, you can find out in those Grammy Pro videos.)

Adams reimagines it in bedroom demo form as a plaintive strummer, and as much as I love the driving rhythm of Swift’s version the melancholy of this take feels so very right for the lyrics. By the time it breaks into a bigger arrangement in the second chorus it might supplant your original vision of how the song is supposed to sound. It also adds a pleasant instrumental outro, which Swift as a lyrics-focused rocker doesn’t tend to indulge in (no shade there, I don’t do them either). The only thing I’m missing is Swift’s descending counter-melody cutting through stacks of harmony on the final chorus.

“All You Had To Was Stay”
Advantage: Tie

shakeitofftaylor1Adams has such a great stripped-down rhythm section intro to this, it could almost be a Ramones song. But it’s unrecognizable! I couldn’t even figure out what song it was until we got to the chorus lyrics. But, oh-my, the Elvis Costello jangle-pop of that chorus. It’s overwhelmingly welcome – Swift is at her processed squeakiest on this machine-tooled hook. Yet, the verses do too much hanging out on the high melody note without a lot of contrast.

Given the choice, I’d mash-up Taylor’s verses with Adams’s choruses. They could be so happy together.

“Shake It Off”
Advantage: Swift

Don’t fight the dark side, Ryan!

Taylor Swift wrote a perfect 3-chord dance tune that holds up in cover sets next to songs like “Twist and Shout” and Adams seems to have a beef with every element of it. His cover could be described as “boringcore.” He strips down the rhythm to a simple snare rim, inverts the verse melodies and strips them of their variations, and doesn’t play with the repeated words on the chorus. You didn’t have to pick up the horn section to make an awesome cover of this – the Springsteen model would have worked.

Also, no attempt to interpret the whacky half-rapped bridge? Weak.

“I Wish You Would”
Advantage Swift

This starts with Adams seeming allergic to all of the best melodic elements of the original. Then the band leaps in to ape the big snare hits on the 3s and Adams snaps into one of the more straight-forward impersonations he’s delivered so far. There’s a lovely pile of guitars and organs to recreat all the fuss of the original chorus, and to be sure Swift’s version could have benefited from some more organic touches. Yet, the song gains nothing from anonymizing the verses.

Taylor_Swift_Bad_Blood_character_Poster.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge“Bad Blood”
Advantage: Adams… maybe?

Look: both versions are undeniable high points of their respective albums. Swift’s version was the first song on the LP that made me stop and say, “Oh, shit, this is great.” So maybe it’s not a surprise that it holds the same position on Adams version.

It’s an incredibly straight-forward take that just slightly alters the rhythm by bringing more texture to the verses. Yet, it’s the texture that makes it so fascinating – especially a twinkling high guitar on the choruses. That all points to how strong the bones of this tune truly are. If you can see past trying to duplicate the massive drums, there’s a lot to work with in this four chords.

Notable Lyric Modification: “These kind of wounds, they always last.”

“Wildest Dreams”
Advantage: Adams

There’s an almost REM sensibility to the layered riffs in this one, flirting with each other and then departing on their own missions. This is another tune with great structure, but Swift’s version is SO cloying with how her voice lilts up on every phrase. Adams keeps it on the verses and cuts it on the choruses, and it makes all the difference. Adams handles Swift’s machine-gun bridge rhythm well, softening it without making it unfamiliar. Minor points off for having to insert “YOUR dress” – the line would have read more interesting without it.

“How You Get The Girl”
Advantage: Neither

This is one of the more basic songs on the album, but Ryan doesn’t do anything close to making it memorable, even with a gratuitous string section.. Some of his elements are just fighting each other. Meanwhile, Swift’s version should have been relegated to be a late-album-cycle soundtrack hit.

Bonus track “New Romantics” deserved this spot on both discs!

“This Love”
Advantage: Swift

Despite me not being much for ballads, this tune leapt out at me from early plays of the album for its liquid ease and patience in unfurling its chorus. Adams turns in a fine version with some lovely falsetto on the choruses, but Swift has got this late-80s power-ballad game on lock.

“I Know Places”
Advantage: Swift

The fascinating thing about this song is it’s Swift being menacing. Everything about it is a little scary, from the minor key descending leaps to the vultures, hunters, and foxes. It translates terrifically to a single acoustic guitar. Adams is a little too focused on dressing it up with castanets and not giving the creepy arrangement its due. Also, the first hit in his chorus is a muddle.

Advantage: Adams

Swift’s take on this song is a bit too languid, but a song about cleaning up your addictions should have a little bit of rubber-band snapping on the wrists tension to it. Adams fixes that, and the great lines stick out a bit more, like “butterflies turn into dust.” There’s not a moment of sensing that Adams is re- engineering something. The song feels solid and whole.


My life of eight years ago was much simpler, but not in the way you think. I’m not grumbling about working at a start-up, having a child, or owning a house. Those all complicate life, but that’s not what was so different about my life of eight years ago.

I’m talking about consumption.

Eight years ago this is what my consumption looked like: I listened to tons of new music on my iPod on my commutes. We had a three-at-a-time movie plan from Netflix. We had just started watching DVDs of Supernatural. I read an occasional book and subscribed to Rolling Stone and The Atlantic. 

That resulted from a conscious decision to give up TV, watching football, playing internet games, and going to all but the most major of movies.. Even with the Netflix, when I got home from work, I usually had vast gulphs of time to fill with writing and arranging music. I could create just as frequently as I consumed. If I had money to spare, I spent it on gear so I could create even better and more interesting things.

Now, I feel beholden to all the media I consume – not just by consuming it, but keeping it all straight. I listen to more new music than ever and keep careful track of release calendars and critics scores to know what to buy. We have streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, constantly checking for new things to watch along with my handful of ongoing TV shows and a few YouTube channels, so I need to know when there are new episodes. I read more than 70 ongoing comics, and it takes almost as much time to order and organize them as read them. I play one internet game that can eat a few hours each weekend if it introduces new content. And, in an attempt to be less beholden to screens, I’m suddenly reading more actual books and playing board games (plus, again, devoting time to learning about and rating and organizing those, too).

Predictably, my creative output has fallen to close to nill, aside from the awesome month of blogging I just did. Frankly, the effort of keeping up every day exhausted me, and I went into an even more consuming-heavy month as a result.

Recently, a comic from The Oatmeal about “Fear of Missing Out” circulated in my social media circles. Basically, when the author was younger he never wanted to miss a social event. (I’m not linking to it because I don’t actually like The Oatmeal. Oooo, blog drama!) That’s not what I thought it would be about! What is there to miss about social events? They’re just filled with people you can enjoy elsewhere in less stressful settings.

Clearly, I am that person who answers, “I prefer books to people” on the Myers-Briggs.

What I’m afraid to miss out on is all that other stuff. Missing shows means you can’t be in the dialog about them. Missing albums means you can’t chat about critic’s best-of lists each year. Missing comics means you might have to pay hugely for them once their collections are out of print.

In that way, weirdly, I am at my happiest right now. I’m not missing anything I don’t want to miss! I have every LP, movie, and comic I’ve ever wanted and I realize how privileged that makes me. I love being a recommendation agent for my friends and being able to jump into any conversation on media with a well-formed opinion. It makes me feel incredibly content. Yet, I’m actually missing something really important. No, not people – again, major self-centered introvert here, this is so not about people other than me.

That’s what I’m missing out on. Me. The thoughts and feelings I have that might be worth documenting or exploring, writing or singing about. Books written, albums recorded – missing out on all of that. And the more I consume, the more my creative output becomes just an echo of what’s going in – it’s all critique and response, and little genesis.

That leaves me paralyzed. I want to consume all this stuff and get that dopamine shot of contentedness every time I reel in incrementally more of it. I don’t want to stop now and get behind! Then I wouldn’t have the completeness in my possession, even though with every new cohort of music or comics that arrives the chance that I’d have the time to re-read an old one grows less and less.

I’m not sure how to balance this. Maybe it’s months on and months off, so I add a programmatic ebb and flow to my consuming and creating. All I know is that for as drained as I felt after a solid month of blogging, I also felt really awesome.

I’d like to find a way to do the contentedness and the awesomeness at the same time, and maybe also do some exercise that isn’t carrying gear and lifting longboxes full of comics.


Master of Kung Fu gets collected (or: After 100 years, Fu Manchu is still a villain)

This was the news last night from the Diamond Retailer Summit via Heidi MacDonald, EIC of Comics Beat:

Photo by Heidi MacDonald

Photo of Marvel’s slide from the summit by Heidi MacDonald of ComicsBeat.

This is a series you’ve probably never heard of, yet it’s both historically significant and solidly entrenched in the top 10 most-wished-for Omnibus editions from Marvel’s online collector community.

What’s the story behind the excitement and why does this seemingly obscure series merit four massive volumes? To figure out the answer, we need to travel back in time over 40 years to 1974.

Similar to Marvel 70s horror titles Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night that emerged in 1972, Master of Kung Fu both featured a major non-Marvel character and was built to serve a public craze.

In this case, the craze was the titular Kung Fu. It was blowing up in the summer of 1973 thanks to a culmination of factors including the television show Kung Fu, a number of successful movies imported from China’s booming cinema, and one man: Bruce Lee. To read more background, I suggest starting with a marvelous pair of blog posts from “A Shroud of Thoughts” – parts 1 and 2.

Marvel wanted to license the popular Kung Fu to take advantage of the nationwide interest in martial arts (which also yielded Iron Fist), but they failed to obtain the rights. Instead, they turned to another pre-existing mythology: the story behind villain Fu Manchu, a fictional criminal mastermind who coined the mustache of the same name. He was created by author Sax Rohmer in 1912 in a serialized novel, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu.

Fu Manchu was popular enough to merit an initial trilogy of serialized books in the 1910s and even more starting in the 1930s, plus a number of film adaptions ranging from 1929 to 1980. The character can be a controversial one – even in the 1930s he was seen as a racist caricature representing the “Yellow Peril” of an East-Asian threat to the wider, whiter world.

MoKFv01 - 0038Enter Marvel Comics. They licensed the Fu Manchu universe from Rohmer’s estate, which was mostly focused on film adaptations in the 60s after Rohmer’s death and final book in 1959. Instead of keeping it isolated in its own continuity they created Shang-Chi as a part of the Marvel Universe and made him the son of Fu Manchu! What used to be Special Marvel Edition introduced Shang-Chi and then quickly made him the headliner of the book, swapping the title to Master of Kung Fu with issue #17.

The Master of Kung Fu series remains well-regarded by fans not only because of its rarity, but due to the pedigree of its creators. It was written almost entirely by Doug Moench (creator of Moon Knight) for 100 issues and includes a 30-issue run of pencils by Mike Zeck (you know him as the artist of original Secret Wars). That places MoKF alongside some of the other most notable single-creator runs of the period (like Uncanny X-Men) when it comes to the strength and coherence of the ongoing plot.

In the same month they launched MoKF, Marvel also launched a magazine called The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. DHoKF featured martial arts editorial content with B&W backups from a laundry-list of martial arts characters characters like Shang-Chi, Daughters of the Dragon, Iron Fist, and White Tiger (debut in #19).

Unlike Dracula, who has always been in the public domain in the US and who entered that status in the 1960s in Britain, Fu Manchu has remained the intellectual property of the Rohmer estate. While all Dracula stories are fair game to tell, print, and reprint, Fu Manchu requires a licensing agreement to use. At some point after the series ended in 1983, Marvel let their rights to the Fu Manchu universe lapse. While they still retained Shang Chi and brought him back in 1988, they could no longer name his villainous father in print. Further, Marvel could not reproduce or reprint those Fu Manchu stories in print and digital collections.

The announcement of this reprint implies some form of agreement as been reached with the Rohmer estate. Also, characters that belong to Marvel but originated in some of these series could very well be a part of their Netflix plan, since Iron Fist is tied closely to characters like Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. (Incidentally, this may also clear the way for some other core Marvel heroes issues to be reprinted due to Fu Manchu appearances. This is considered to be the hold-up in continuing the Marvel Team-Up Marvel Masterworks line.)

As to what’s going to be included in these four massive tomes, the sure bet is Marvel Special Edition #15-16, MoKF #17-125 and Annual 1, and the later-published anthology story from Marvel Comics Presents #1-8. Weighing in around 115 actual-length issues, that makes for four 28-issue volumes … that’s a bit under Marvel’s typical par, especially when it could easily fit into three volumes and knowing a fourth volume will be a hard sell. (For reference, Marvel has produced some omnis in the >45-issue range.)

What will merit stretching out to the fourth volume? It’s likely the companion book, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. If Marvel only reprints the original stories, that would add #1-9, 11-18, 29, 31-33 and Special #1. That’s another 20+ issues. Yet, every issue – even the ones that order skips – included original editorial content, like Kung Fu how-tos.

While that material likely isn’t affected by any manner of licensing embargo, this is the best and most sellable chance to reproduce it. It also easily extends this material into the four-volume range, since each issue was 64 pages – that counts for about 70 more standard comics worth of content. Even if Marvel ditches some of the content, that places these books somewhere in the hefty 40ish issue range that would merit stretching out to four volumes.

Regardless of the contents of the collections, the announcement of this release is not only a major win for classic Marvel collections, it’s a terrific example of Marvel’s complex and sometimes thorny licensing relationships.

(Of course, the best example is the biggest licensing game of all – Star Wars! Marvel produced reams of original Star Wars stories in the late 70s and early 80s, but Dark Horse held the licensing rights up for over two decades until this year, when the Disney house brought them back into the fold. [Disney owns both Marvel and LucasFilm.])



All-New, All-Different Marvel – a book-by-book break-down

ANAD-Marvel-Comics-2It’s upon us! Even though Marvel’s mega-event Secret Wars won’t quite be over until December, they’re pressing ahead with a line-wide All New, All Different Marvel relaunch starting in October with over sixty new books debuting into the spring, and more announced each week. That’s a lot of comics, many of them with completely fresh directions and creative teams – how can you wade through to find the most-interesting titles?

As always, I took care of the sifting for you! Here’s a list of every book Marvel has announced to date, the amount of hype I’m feeling on it, a one-sentence summary of the concept and creative team, and the elevator pitch on why you should care.

Ready? Here we go! Updated November 2!

Hype Factor: 3.5 stars
What is it? An all-female team of Marvel heroes
Who’s creating it? Written by G. Willow Wilson (Ms Marvel) with art by Jorge Molina, one of Marvel’s most consistent artists

Why read it? Even for someone like me who lives for the women of Marvel, this assemblage of female heroes seems like a bit of a hodgepodge. At least Marvel Now’s Fearless Defenders had a cleverer central trope, but, it began with a pair of B-list players. Here, Marvel is pulling out all of the stops short of Storm and it’s probably going to pay off. Plus, Wilson was ace on her brief run on X-Men Vol. 4 – she clearly did the homework on the character’s rich histories, and they never sounded so good.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hype Factor: 2 stars
What is it? Marvel’s comic version of the TV team
Who’s creating it? Original Green Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim

Why read it? It’s Agent Colson and friends mashing up with/against Hydra, which should be very palatable to Marvel’s TV fans. However, it’s going to take a lot for this to top both the prior Coulson-starring books, Ales Kot’s Secret Avengers and Mark Waid’s Agents of SHIELD. Plus, Guggenheim was weak on his X-Men arc in Marvel Now – the history was there, but the voices were off. Is that because a TV writer writes for actors and not pictures on a page? Either way, I’ll believe it when I read it.

ANADAvg-promoAll-New, All-Different Avengers
Hype Factor:4.5 stars
What is it? A team of second-generation heroes takes the Avengers mantle (but not the budget)
Who’s creating it? Writer Mark Waid with artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar

Why read it? Take four of Marvel’s hottest properties of the past few years – Falcon as Captain America, the black and hispanic teen Spider-Man, a female Thor, and the new Afgani-American teen Ms. Marvel. Add a pubescent Nova and cinematic smashes Iron Man and Vision. Oh, and Waid will write it hot off of one of the best (and most playful) Daredevil runs of all time. Yeah: everybody’s going to buy this comic book. I’m slightly less excited by the artists – Kubert is wildly uneven and Marvel has yet to find the right colorist for Asrar. Still, this book will be a smash.


10 Skills Every Queen Needs To Be Sickening on RuPaul’s Drag Race (according to data)


Jinx Monsoon is by no means my favorite queen, but when it comes to a dectuple threat on this show she’s as close as we ever got, even if a lot of her fashion wasn’t so great…

Like wishing for snow in the dead of summer, right now we’re about as far from a new season of Drag Race as we can be, even though we know both Season 8 and a new All-Stars Season are already shot and in the can!

In the past year I’ve watched every season of Drag Race except for the storied and hard-to-obtain first, and I’ve noticed some trends. Specifically, 10 skills that are positive indications of a queen’s potential success as supported by the data of every main challenge ever performed on the show.

Will these skills get you surely to safety every week? No – there’s always something that only vaguely relies on these traits, whether that’s a parade float boat to sink you or a magazine concept to tear you down. Yet, if you’re killing it in these 10 categories all season long, you’ll probably survive even turning yourself into a Presidential candidate or Hello Kitty character. Plus, what deadly challenge used every one of these ten skills?

Of course, what do I know? Last time I was in drag as a woman was as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and that was almost 20 years ago.

The Criteria: For the purpose of this post, the seven seasons I evaluated were Season 2-7 and All-Stars. I did not specifically evaluate final runways for the potential of a sewing challenge unless that happened to be the main challenge.  (Continued)

Rebel Rebel, how could they know?

2015-09-22 13.48.28“I know gifts are officially not a thing,” Lindsay said to me last night, “but when I saw this I had to get it for you.”

She disappeared up the floating stairs to her bedroom loft and returned with this. It’s a painting by local Philly artist Frank Kolbmann that was created live at the 2015 Winter Doldrums music festival.

It’s…. me.

I mean, clearly it is meant to be evocative of David Bowie in his Aladdin Sane era, but it looks just like me – chin, nose, hairline and all. It’s uncanny. I had to quiz Lindsay repeatedly to ascertain that she definitely did not provide my photo as guidance to Mr. Kolbmann.

No, it just came out this way. Me + David Bowie. This photo is not the entire canvas, nor does it do it justice, but I’m sure you’ll be able to see the likeness.

Oh, heck – since it’s my birthday, you can listen to a super-ultra top-secret never-heard other than on my laptop early mix of Arcati Crisis’s first ever full-band studio song. It kinda goes with the painting…

Music Monday: “Chasing Time” – Azaelia Banks

azealia-banks-chasing-timeStop whatever you are doing and fall in love Azaelia Banks.

(I was supposed to be loving her in person in a few days during her first big national tour along with K. Michelle, but it was cancelled and now I am bereft, so the next best thing is sharing my love with the rest of you.)

If you’ve heard of Ms. Banks, I can 98 and 3/4 percent guarantee that it’s for one of two reasons. First, it could be for her international smash debut single “212.” (Yeah, it was awesome.) Second, it could be her ongoing social media feuds that critics use to paint her as the crazy foil to more media darling rappers like Nikki Minaj or Iggy Azalea.

My bold proposal is that Banks’s music ability and virtuosic genius far outstrips any perception of her being a loudmouth on social media, and that in fact her loudmouthedness is really just the combination of her relative youth and intellect manifesting as rage at all the injustices small and large in the world around us. And, not for nothing, but we accept young loudmouthed men and white people all the time and merrily consume their music, but as a woman of color we’re expected to dissect every single thing she says.

Consider that.

Azaelia Banks does not need me to say these things. I don’t even want to talk about them. I am saying them for you, because if Bank’s media image as a Crazy Girl or Big Bad Wofl are getting the way of you listening to her music you are losing out. I fucking love just about every piece of music Azaelia Banks releases.

Case and point: “Chasing Time” from my favorite album of 2014, her debut, Broke With Expensive Taste.

This song. This fucking song. I’m not even sure where to begin.

Let’s start with her voice. The song starts with a husky contralto rap, then shifts up to that nasally standard female R&B voice, then through to the chorus it gets bigger and clearer until we we’re getting fully, throaty stacks of harmony unlike anything today’s crop of rap crossover stars are delivering. You can hear the influences in there, but you can also hear how Banks’ voice doesn’t fit simply into a box. There’s no straight-line to a single prior act.

(Spoiler alert: this is not a fluke. That amazing dynamic range is all over her album.)

Next, the music. Despite being born a few weeks after “Vogue” hit the charts in 1991, Banks has a sound that’s deeply rooted in the 90s house music of the period that Madonna summed up in her major hit. Yet, it’s not the only noise she knows how to make – “212” is a much more straight-forward beats-driven rap song. In fact, Banks even issued an EP titled 1991 that was bathed in this sound. Here its represented by sustain passing synth chords and rapidly changing clanging chords, but also a weirdly alien burbling drum track.

(Spoiler alert: this is a star whose brain is wired for ingenious arrangments. I’ve seen interviews where she describes singing all of the parts of an arrangement to her producers, a la Michael Jackson.)

Finally, the lyrics. While the chorus has a hook-and-repeat vibe, the track on the whole is a lot deeper than that. Here’s how it begins.

I want somebody who can take it apart, stitch me back together make me into who I wanna be.
But all you ever do is sit in the dark. Dealing with the Devil, you ain’t never ever gonna be mine.

Cause I’m born to dance in the moonlight
I feel like spending my nights alone
I try to give you a little more space to grow
White lies, I don’t wanna be around anymore
I’m through giving, I’ve got to go….

Am I chasing time? Cause I wasted all mine on you.
Am I chasing time? Cause I wasted all mine on you.

Check my watch, I had the future in my pocket, but I lost it when I gave it to you.
If tomorrow drops, I had my time right in my locket, but I lost it when I gave it to you.

These are all reasons I am in love with Azaelia Banks, and with “Chasing Time” in specific. She is a rare pop auteur putting the pieces together in new and interesting ways, made all the more interesting by the fact she is an outstanding rapper. Good rappers who are good singers are few and far between, and ones with ideas this interesting (and, frankly, images so seldom about sexual provocation) are far fewer.

I want you to give her a listen, and don’t take her advice from the final lines of this song.

And you’re like, “Girl, how you do that?”
My attitude is bitchy but you already knew that…
And since we can’t get along
I think we should both move on