29
Jun 01

V/VM – “Take My Beef Away”

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Everyone’s written a love song ‘ silly, serious, heart-felt, ironic, and all the various permutations throbbing and convulsing therein. Often, the best ones try to reconcile these conflicting traits ‘ for instance, Elvis Costello’s ‘Allison’, where he both pines for and scorns the girl. Or the Cardigan’s “Lovefool”, where the girl asks for her heart to be broken, and won’t be satisfied with anything less. Where V/VM & his Sick-Love CD fall in all of this, I can’t be sure ‘ it’s at once alien to these concepts, and also painfully aware of them.

This disc features twenty-one tracks, with V/VM taking love songs of all types & mulching them electronically to create an interesting distortion of said love and said songs. For instance, one track consists of the introduction to Michael McDonald’s ‘I Keep Forgetting’ repeated over & over, stumbling over itself, never getting anywhere. For you Chris DeBurgh fans, his ‘big hit’ shows up here as ‘The Lady In Red (Is Dancing With Meat)’. I’ve only made it through the tenth track (the subject of this write-up), but it’s an amazing piece of work. The song he starts with is ‘Take My Breath Away’, by Berlin, an exemplary example of 80s new-wave fluff. For what it is, it isn’t bad ‘ there are worse things to dance to at your junior prom / wedding. However, V/VM smothers the music in buckets of Urban Decay make-up, slowing the beats and synth burbles down to a funereal crawl. The lyrics, meanwhile, are essayed by a voice that could’ve been pulled off of The Pop Group’s Y album, assuming Mark Stewart was a character from Tron being digitally flayed by the MCP at the time of singing. It’s a tortured song, the red bouncing ball hitting the words with a dull thunk & picking up a coating of blood & bone fragments. And it sounds like the logical extension of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. This IS ‘love’, post-rending ‘ howling in pain, confused, asking for someone to pull the trigger. When the chorus comes around, the words ‘take my breath away’ sound like a death wish, not an estatic hope or a passionate exclamation. It’s a harrowing sound. It’s a brilliant sound.

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