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Twice as nice

1:55 is a weekly newsletter for Patreon Gatekeepers.

We had to do this week’s episode twice. Somehow this has only happened once in over the course of hundreds of episodes and thousands of hours of recording. Surprisingly that doesn’t make it suck less. 

Let’s go.

ABBA “No Doubt About It”

Sam: John Carpenter was right. Except the first new ABBA songs in 40 years don’t make me feel like I’m 28 again - they make me feel like I’m 12 and my mom is wiling out to ABBA Gold, a CD with a permanent hold on the CD player, in our old house. It makes me feel like I’m seeing Mamma Mia! on stage in Toronto as a rude teen who was dragged there by his mom so she could wile out and being unwittingly, utterly charmed by it. It makes me think of spending late pandemic nights watching Racer Trash remixes, and in particular The ABBAdook, which taught me that “Does Your Mother Know” is in fact the best ABBA song. It’s an easy cliche to say that there is no reason for an album from a legacy act to exist or be good, but whyyyyy the fuck is ABBA still writing the best pop music in the world in 2021.

Josiah: Something I haven’t talked about very much for obvious reasons is that I’m currently steeped in what has been the worst year of my life (so far). Outside of my cat dying, there’s been some tough shit happening that’s not really pod-worthy. All of this is to say that I watched Mamma Mia! the movie when I needed it the very most, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It’s like The Room if there were no mistakes and nothing to make fun of in it. ABBA rocks, and I’ve needed my fill ever since I’ve been not hearing the Time Crisis theme every two weeks. I can’t wait to be even older than I am now.

Black Marble “Bodies”

Sam: Needed a soft landing coming out of this October, and the new Black Marble is doing the trick via synth sounds that don’t feel like they demand neon graphics and Chopping Mall samples to be complete. This is music I can play without making Ashley embarrassed of me, which is very important to me after weeks of playing this shit while doing any menial household task.

Josiah: God bless the bands that just release the same song over and over again, although Black Marble making the leap from Hardly Art to Sacred Bones is definitely levelling up in hipness, like getting a promotion from being on the heather-grey t-shirt of the middle-aged office worker who drinks craft beers at a music fest once a year to being the patch on the backpack of the sketchy goth that sells that office worker’s kids cocaine. Damn remember Vice music reviews.

Avril Lavigne “Bite Me”

Josiah: I genuinely do not give a shit about listening to music these days, to the point where it takes me forever to even check out the things I want to hear. Fortunately the newsletter is here to say “go click that new Avril Lavigne song!” Av and Trav come through with a nice lil tune that wins because of its prominent use of the word “wifey” and because it plays with double- and half-time so much. I think this probably sounds like Paramore but I genuinely have only heard like one of their songs.

Sam: Damn opening up with the high note bold choice! The verse is good but feels a little stock for what Travis and his little crew are doing these days - nothing especially Av about it. But the chorus! This is the stuff. The verse does make me worried about the future of “feat. Travis Barker” but you can’t beat that chorus “bite me” / “wifey” rhyme scheme which feels straight out of the 00s. Blessed stupidity.

Charli XCX “New Shapes”

Josiah: Poking around, I see there’s a new Hot Water Music song out today and I am so, so thankful that Sam didn’t make me listen to it. Instead, let’s all enjoy this delightful new Charli XCX tune. There are so many wonderful Charli tracks, usually fitting into one of maybe three song molds. And this is another one of ‘em. In fact, I see an upload dated this week and another one dated last week, and I feel like I’ve already heard it maybe a year ago but I’m sure I didn’t. Anyway it rules. I can’t remember how to write about music anymore. 

Sam: I remember interviewing Charli at this otherwise kinda shit festival in Toronto in… 2012 (fuck, I had to look that up and I’m bummed now) when she was playing first in the vibeless midday sun and being amazed the sheer staaaar power she conveyed in that desolate setting and in the subsequent interview which was probably only about “I Love It.” Her transition into a proper star with such a specific and unique artistic perspective rules. When can I see the goddamn Charli XCX movie. Just let me look at it. 
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