#7. Fischerspooner – Emerge (2001)
Track number seven of each weekend’s Fucked-Up Festive Fifty, and perhaps the most difficult to write about (if the large number of drafts is anything to go by). It’s a question of integrity, I suppose. Of having to reconcile a compulsive attraction towards the sound with the instinctive wariness of counterfeit sentiment.
And I don’t apply the counterfeit sentiment phrase lightly; as much disposable performance art as an exercise in music, this is an act (note: not band) very much a statement of scene. Electroclash: a clique of vogue-obsessed performers, a clusterfuck of obligatory Felix Da Housecat remixes – and like all scenes, deeply uncool once the momentum began to falter.
All of which encourages a feeling of being on the back foot here. Defensive, not celebratory (hence the multiple drafts). Totally silly of course; if we calibrated the artists behind our favourite songs against some kind of sincerity matrix, we’d all be listening to earnest and worthy types who prefer A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy* to drugs and groupies and very, very late nights.
And make no mistake about it – this is a fabulous record, positively demanding late nights. Built upon a coy and surprisingly delicate synch-pop chord structure, it flowers into layers of sonic posturing. Yes, each addition is pulled from the catalogue of simple, generic poses, but the particulars of assemblage – the minimalist vocal, the sentiment arch and highly metropolitan – underpin a decadence both confident and infectious.
I’ll be honest with you – this was a shoe-in for the Festive Fifty; something highly evocative, hugely resplendent. If records were anthropomorphic, I suspect that ‘Emerge’ would be a wonderfully exotic drag queen; pristine skin, mesmerizing gaze, an elaborate yet highly chic ball gown, perfume by amyl nitrate. This is a record that’s sultry, alluring, very much flaunting its catwalk trashiness – it looks good, feels good too – and I make no apology for becoming hypnotized.
Fischerspooner / Emerge
* Karl Marx, 1859