I went to Comic Con and all I got was this lousy sense of ennui and a sneak preview of ‘Penguins of Madagascar’
For my first Comic-Con, I decide to jump in with both feet. At 3:30AM on Thursday morning, I wake up and get in line for Comic-Con’s biggest venue, Hall H. The lineup for the day is a mix of things that no one could possibly care about (clips from Penguins of Madagascar) and things that will probably be cool (a mystery presentation by Paramount Pictures). Surely something interesting will happen inside. But first I have to get in.
If all goes according to plan, this will be the last thing I ever write about Comic-Con.
Mouth Silence is the sound of your brain roasting
It’s the most horrific mix of the ’80s, ’90s, and today. Imagine the rapture in all its violence and beauty, set to the sound of a trillion angels harmonizing to Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-charmed Life.” Imagine yourself hurdling through a lukewarm, glowing, pearlescent wormhole singing, “I’m not listening when you say goodbye.” It’s glorious. And that’s just the intro.
If you make it through the first couple minutes, this is weirdly compelling stuff.
“This is a multi-lifetime process that we have now embarked on. Meaning starting now, you’re just starting to see a glimmer of what the idea of West will mean. So right now, at this age and with this visibility and with the skill sets that Kim is now giving me, I think I have a good chance of success in building something that has longevity, high integrity, high success rate, and is very fulfilling, not only for me creatively but also in adding fulfillment to people’s lives. Adding ease. Adding wonder. Adding magic.”
"What Is This Heart?" is one of the year’s best albums, despite a title that sounds like something straight out of Peabo Bryson’s back catalog. It’s another treasure from this decade’s miraculous run of progressive R&B albums, and sounds totally at home on any playlist that also offers Frank Ocean, Solange, Miguel, or the Weeknd. You’d think there’d be something interesting to say about the fact that among these, How to Dress Well is the only white academic whose songs are inspired by the works of Hegel. But inspiration comes from everywhere, and the pop landscape has always been polyglot. So who is Tom Krell, and what does he want with us?
A Pitchfork feature this summer painted him as a cerebral songwriter whose lyrics can often be surprisingly literal. In the bridge of “Repeat Pleasure,” his best song by a comfortable margin, he straight-up channels the Titanic soundtrack: “Even broken my heart will go on!” What gets you is that voice, so light and airy, running up and down the melody like it’s a flight of stairs. The song is about the way our expectations change after we consummate a new relationship — “once you got it you want something else.” Krell is ready to commit, but the girl has already moved on.
The song is about agony, but it’s also a seduction. That’s what I respond to the most here — the way that Krell, defeated by love, crawls right back up to it. He’s hurting but he hasn’t given up, and using only his voice he tries to build a bridge back to a happier time. Somehow, by the time it finishes, you’re feeling just a bit better. In this sense it’s the opposite of the Weeknd, whose songs leave you wanting to take a shower. Krell’s music, by contrast, is almost shockingly wholesome. “Repeat Pleasure” has no edges. It cuts you anyway.