ALBUMS OF THE WEEK: Albertine Sarges and Sleaford Mods

“Take off your bra and let them hang! You’re free today!” The lead song off of Albertine Sarges’ incredible new album, Free Today, starts by wondering why “Feminist Theory” is described as a “theory,” and then tells you you’re free of all that crap today. Don’t worry about the rule about not shaking hands with the other side. Shake hands with “the real hands, the hands that are love!”

Every line has an exclamation point. Every phrase has a joyous and sad feeling all at once. Her song “Post Office” is about just that–allowing all of your feelings to overcome you at the same time.

If Laurie Anderson were the lead singer for Crosby, Stills and Nash, it might have sounded like this. If Joni Mitchell wrote today, in modern Germany, and took up the causes of gender freedom, she might have written a song like “The Girls,” which hides social-norm busting, subversive concepts under a tale about getting a dog so she can take up smoking and walk at night.

Most albums with songs this catchy–and this is definitely pop–eschew the cerebral and keep it light. This is an album that revels enthusiatsically with the full range of human experience, never slows down or brings down the listener, but also doesn’t avoid the person. Pop music is supposed to appeal to everyone, so it rarely takes such a strong perspective, but Sarges walks that line–seemingly effortlessly–and has created the first truly great album of the year.

And since we’re in Germany, let’s do Europe for our second album of the week: “Spare Ribs” by Sleaford Mods. The album title is meant to reference Adam’s rib, saying that we are all of us disposable (spare) people (ribs). The Mods have been around for over a decade, and show no signs of slowing down on their 11th album. Well, that’s not exactly true. Spare Ribs is probably slower than you’d expect from the electropunkers–it creeps along with a sense of rage and menace.

“I wish I had the time to be a wanker just like you, maybe then I’d be somewhere lovely and warm, just like you…”

A really great record. Well worth a ten-spot. Check it out.

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