Showing posts with label oh land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oh land. Show all posts

Monday, December 9, 2013

video review: 'wish bone' by oh land

This came out surprisingly easily, and better than I expected. Almost makes me wish I covered her when this album came out in September... ah well.

Next up is R. Kelly. Brace yourself, folks, I don't suspect this will go well.

album review: 'wish bone' by oh land (RETRO REVIEW)

Several months back, in my review of Tegan & Sara's album Heartthrob, I made mention of my distaste for the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' trope, one that has grown increasingly popular with the rise of 'indie/hipster' culture in recent years. For those unfamiliar, those defined by the Manic Pixie Dream Girl character and image are off-beat, quirky, and decidedly lodged in girlish adolescence. What's key is that these character traits must lack an inherent root cause: these characters are quirky and eccentric just for its own sake, a shallow idealized fantasy and not, you know, an actual human being. And I'll be blunt: it's alarmingly sexist, considering female characters who fall into this trope are often treated as 'precious' or 'cute' by the male characters and any potential nuggets of real insight are solely marginalized to observational quirk - treated as girls instead of as women. And it really says a lot about guys who are drawn to this, because they aren't looking for a relationship of equals or for a partner who might be able to match their own eccentricities  - they want a girl with just enough randomness and quirk so they can delude themselves into thinking they're deep.

Now let me make this clear: it's not the aesthetic of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl that's the issue, which is ultimately why I came down mostly positive on Tegan & Sara's pop-flavoured appropriation of the image which paid big dividends for them. After all, Heartthrob was only trying to be a shallow pop album, and the aesthetic worked. But there are a lot of indie acts who have realized this image and style sells very well to the hipster set... which can be unfortunate for acts with occasional insight, like Regina Spektor. And as a music critic, it can be frustrating to peel away the artifice and see if there's anything real underneath when so many indie acts are leaping aboard this trope. 

And all of this comes back to Oh Land, a Danish artist who released her new album Wish Bone three months ago and who seemed to be playing close to this trope. I didn't cover the record because the critical buzz had been lukewarm and September was incredibly busy for me, but enough of you recommended I check it out, so I gave it a look and hoped for the best. What did I find?