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Attitude Problem Jay is left 'numb' by the return of My Life Story

Attitude Problem

Jay is left 'numb' by the return of My Life Story

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: March, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

' ideas that are never quite realized, never expanded upon, ...that inability to transform them into something of substance is so exasperating'

'Loving You Is Killing Me'
ZERO favorite_borders

It's difficult to listen to My Life Story's latest album without remembering how, in 1997, Select Magazine declared the band's major label debut ('The Golden Mile') as '...the worst album ever made'. Having felt such nausea at songs like the saucy Britpop-by-numbers 'Strumpet' and orchestral strut of 'The King of Kissingdom' then how would the long defunct magazine's scribblers respond to new numbers such as 'Tits and Attitude' 'Numb, Numb, Numb' and the modest as ever 'I'm A God'? One can only assume that it would not be kind.

What frustrates me most about 'Loving You Is Killing Me' is that, like so many of Jake Shillingford's releases, is that it is filled with smart ideas that are never quite realized, never expanded upon -  and that inability to transform them into something of substance is so exasperating.  You want to love it as much as the band's (Giles Martin produced), debut single ‘Girl A, Girl B, Boy C’ or the brash '12 Reasons Why'. But then you're aware of the roar of diminishing returns. Opener 'Running Out of Heartbeats' is a little too much like the Lightning Seeds but somehow lacking that pizazz of the Lighting Seeds. Furthermore, now shorn of his orchestral backup, the thing that did make Jake so identifiable from the rest of the 90s crowd, is no more.

Songs run out of ideas long before they actually fade out, cue pointlessly rhyming 'longitude and latitude' with 'Tits and Attitude'. And why is he using that particular phrase? Why? It feels as though there's something missing between the verses and choruses to bind the concept together, there should be something more here, it feels incomplete. Similarly, the disconnect between all of the clever listing of fake gods in the choruses of 'I'm A God' and the kind lover he describes describes himself as in the verses, is equally vexing.

Elsewhere, the 'numb, numb, numb, numb, numb, numb, numb, numb' chorus of (you guessed it), 'Numb Numb Numb' is wearisome, but it pales alongside the 'na,na,na,na,na,na,na, na' of the punky pastiche 'Naked' ( a song which includes the line - 'you'll never get to heaven with your clothes on'). And as romantic gestures go 'seal(ing) your heart in bubble wrap' is just a tad weird ('Bubblewrap').  But the most jarring of all must be '... she's a broken tune/that I wrote last June' on the puntastic 'B Side Girl'.

Of course, one should never really judge a book by its cover, but the image on the album's front sleeve of a crowd pointing cameraphones at a crucifix tells you all you need to know... an attempt to convey something smart, something significant but it just looks empty , ill-judged and tacky. Like the rest of the album, it just leaves me feeling numb.

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»



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