Thanks, Hendrik! Hi, everyone. I’m Alex.
This week, I’ll be writing about an artist who (sometimes) shares with Ke$ha an affection for unicorns and glitter. Tumblr informs me that he recently said (of his latest, fifth, album):
Ke$ha was the inspiration behind going more organic and acoustic, more human. Because I turned on the radio and everything sounded like 2001: A Space Odyssey – like the computer malfunction. Everybody was turning into robots. So I decided to make something about love, intimacy and for it to sound like two bodies making love. - Patrick Wolf (source)
Of course, he also loves Girls Aloud, and numbers Britney Spears (and not just the uptempo stuff - he loves ’Everytime’) and Danja among his influences, so that’s not necessarily a critique so much as it is a statement of purpose.
The first time we reviewed Patrick Wolf over at The Singles Jukebox, I opened my blurb with a disclaimer: “I’ll admit at the outset that it is completely impossible for me to be remotely objective about Patrick Wolf.” That part remains true, and it’s something I want to get out of the way upfront. Worrisome words for a music writer, but I’ll do my best over the course of the week to convey why his work consistently wows rather than merely gesticulating wildly and frothing at the mouth.
I also said this: “His music is interwoven with the past seven years of my life, having acted as balm, inspiration, steel and spine at various points in time.” Most of that is true. Last.fm informs me that I’ve only been listening to Patrick for slightly over five years - since late 2006 - but the music has bled backwards in my memory, and if anyone can stand to be a bit forgiving about self-mythologizing and being creative with your past, it’s Patrick. But we’ll get to that.
Despite the remarkable consistency of certain aspects of Patrick Wolf’s career, he’s the sort of artist who has had a lot of different sounds and faces and looks, and people’s feelings about and expectations of him are frequently shaped by where, how and what exactly he was when they first encountered his music. With that in mind, I’m going to wander through his work chronologically. [ETA: I guess I didn’t quite make the structure clear - today I’ll spend on general introduction and his debut EP, and spend each consecutive day on one of his full-length albums.] If one day’s offerings aren’t your cup of tea, stick around, because the only thing I can guarantee is that the next day’s music will be fairly different. By week’s end, I’m hoping that everyone will have been won over by at least one album.
ETA2: Why, yes, that does appear to be a mandolin behind his head.