Kim Gordon: The Collective [Album Review]

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Kim Gordon
The Collective
Matador Records [2024]

Album Overview: The Collective is Kim Gordon’s follow-up to her 2019 solo debut album, No Home Record. Produced by Justin Raisen (Lil Yachty, John Cale, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Charli XCX) and featuring additional production from Anthony Paul Lopez, the album explores themes of communication, commercialism, and sensory overload. It diverges from her previous work, delving into darker and more experimental territories. Right from the opening track, The Collective will knock you off balance. While this might not be surprising coming from an artist with such a historic resume as Sonic Youth, the dissonant noise skillfully injected into the record starts off unsettling in your ear but quickly moves to mesmerizing upon its conclusion.

Musical Style: The album showcases a blend of damaged, blown-out dub, and trap constructions, juxtaposed with Gordon’s intuitive word collages and hooky mantras. It features elements of noise rock, experimental electronic, and post-punk, creating a dense and atmospheric sonic landscape.

Evolution of Sound: The Collective represents a departure from Kim Gordon’s previous solo work, pushing further into experimental and electronic realms. The album demonstrates her historic willingness to explore new musical territories while maintaining her signature artistic vision and lyrical prowess, which becomes evident as the record comes to an end.

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of experimental and avant-garde music may find similarities with artists like Yves Tumor, L’Rain, Jenny Hval, and Sonic Youth, given Gordon’s background with the latter. The album’s blend of noise, electronic, and post-punk elements may also appeal to Björk or Arca listeners.

Pivotal Tracks: “Shelf Warmer” explores the pain and complexities of love in a consumerist society, featuring edgy beats and scratching claps. “I Don’t Miss My Mind” reflects on the nature of thought and perception, with an overpowering beat that breaks through your speakers. “I’m A Man” finds Kim aggressively belting out the title with swirling noise and guitars sawing through its backdrop. “It’s Dark Inside” creates a haunting atmosphere with synthesized voices and atmospheric layers, delving into themes of isolation and introspection.

Lyrical Strength: Kim Gordon’s lyrics on The Collective demonstrate her ability to craft evocative and thought-provoking imagery. She explores themes of alienation, consumerism, and the complexities of modern life with a poetic sensibility. Her words often convey a sense of urgency and introspection, inviting listeners to ponder deeper existential questions.

No Home Record (2019)

Sonic Youth: Live In Brooklyn 2011 (2023) / Sonic Youth: In/Out/In (2022) / Body/Head: Coming Apart (2013)

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