Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

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Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Post by ordinaryperson » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:05 am


Grey Tickles, Black Pressure by John Grant

AM Ranking: #2585
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Synthpop
Release: 9 October 2015
Label: Bella Union
Ranked Songs: Disappointing (Bubbling)


01 | Intro
02 | Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
03 | Snug Slacks
04 | Guess I Know Him
05 | You & Him
06 | Down Here
07 | Voodoo Doll
08 | Global Warming
09 | Magma Arrives
10 | Black Blizzard
11 | Disappointing
12 | No More Tangles
13 | Geraldine
14 | Outro

Music Videos:

Down Here:
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Next week's album is the original soundtrack of a movie that is currently being remade.
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Re: Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Post by Safetycat » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:51 pm

Weird album! Such a weird album. But not weird in the usual sense.

So, that album cover. What a perfect summary of the album. Very mundane image reflects the lyrics, but the glowing eyes and weird owls reflect how the mundane is set to epic and intense instrumentation (especially with the Elbow-esque second song and the blues-rock-feeling numbers afterwards). And the entire image also reflects the very creepy vibe of a lot of the songs as well.

The album as a whole is very disjointed, with a lot of different musical styles showing up. Some sound like John Misty or Nick Cave, but I find the rest hard to pin down easily. It's an enjoyable mess, but still a bit of a mess.

I'll need to listen a lot more to even try to understand this one.
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Re: Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Post by FrankLotion » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:28 pm

Time has been a little kinder to this album since the first time I heard it. I never disliked it, and I still think it’s John Grant’s best so far, but some of his work can be a little tiresome when he gets literally monotonous with his voice. I also feel like he might be trying a little too hard to have this dry irony to his lyrics that don’t go down quite as smoothly as they would from a Randy Newman and Father John Misty. I will say I have come around to the music on Grey Tickles a bit more this time around as some of the more energetic and funky cuts are legitimately fun to listen to.

I’ll say it’s appropriately acclaimed at this point.

Favorite Tracks: Snug Slacks, Guess How I Know, You & Him, Black Blizzard, Disappointing

Oh, and next week is West Side Story! I think.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Post by Rob » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:06 pm

My first time listening to John Grant. I always figured this would be some warm, traditional singer/songwriter or folk album. I think I based that entirely on his beard.

This is something else, though. There is a strong singer/songwriter element to it sure, but it is mixed with... Whatever strikes his fancy so it seems. One thing it isn't, is warm. His voice would actually easily be capable of comfort, but he decides not to, at least not on this album. There is a sense of sneering, of arrogance and of not letting anything get to you. John Grant is building a wall around him; a wall of irony. He is very aware of the superior stance he takes and mocks this, but it still remains superior.

Everything from that last paragraph I can apply to Father John Misty and I'm not the first to note a connection here. Musically they are different, but the effect remains the same. John Grant (on this album) and John Misty both pull me in and put me off. There is only a certain amount of ironic deflection of life and other people I can take. After a while I want to say: "Enough with the superior jokes, what makes you so special?". As said, Grant and Misty both know they can come off as assholes, but even this self-awareness can't quite help set off some real nastiness. The thing is that I like such a mode every once in a while and both make great songs I love, but an album of such a thing is just too much, especially a longer album of an hour. After 57 minutes I want to draw out John Grant, to let him reveal himself really and be sincere for a minute.

Still, this is musically adventurous and every time I think I've had enough he comes up with a song that gets me. Three songs stand out specifically, the painful title track, Global Warning and Magma Arrives. The least successful are the full-on electronic tracks. It's not just that they feel out of place, but also that they simply aren't that remarkable on themselves.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #10: John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Post by aradralami » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:08 pm

John Grant makes me think, his music and videos poke my mind to reflect and see another perspective, whilst giving a great track. He's a master in a musical age where so much music sounds and feels humdrum. Brilliant. Thank you John.

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