The Collective by Kim Gordon album review by Ethan Rebalkin for Northern Transmissions


The Collective

Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon’s sophomore solo album The Collective blends bass heavy trap beats, and experimental, fuzzed-out guitars, with Gordon’s signature avant-garde poetry.

The Collective opens with the lead single “BYE-BYE.” I remember first hearing this and, in the best way possible, being completely caught off guard. Having not heard her debut solo effort No Home Record, also produced by Justin Raisen (Lil Yachy, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Charli XCX), I would have guessed that Gordon would’ve continued making the fragmented, dissonant, alt-rock that indie-pioneers Sonic Youth were known for. But, somehow, I think this might make even more sense. “BYE-BYE” delivers a bed of distorted bass, abrasive synth leads and harsh guitars for Gordon to share what sounds like a checklist for some sort of getaway bag. This notion becomes even more clear if you watch the accompanying music video featuring Gordon’s daughter, Coco, fashioning her own getaway bag courtesy of stolen goods from a Californian corner store.

On “I Don’t Miss My Mind” you can find a gnarly break-beat sitting under a sample that reminds me of something you’d hear on my bloody valentine’s “To Here Knows When” or “Glider.” It perfectly compliments Gordon’s signature delivery and gives the mantra of “I Don’t Miss My Mind” even more weight.

Since her early days as an artist, Kim Gordon has never hesitated to provide a feminist viewpoint through her work. Sonic Youth classics like “Pacific Coast Highway” and “Shadow of a Doubt” are early examples of that, and now she takes aim at toxic masculinity through album-single, “I’m a Man.” Over a wash of trap 808s and unforgiving guitars, Gordon delivers the song from the perspective of an especially toxic man. With lines like “It’s not my fault I was born a man,” “Don’t call me toxic,” and “It’s good enough for Nancy,” Gordon highlights the unfortunate habits and phrases that many amiss men share. “I’m a Man” is a stellar showcase of Gordon’s ability to deconstruct highly-debated topics and make it feel fresh, and singular to her own style and approach.

Dismantled guitars and a cacophony of synths parade across “It’s Dark Inside.” There’s an urgent, frustrated nature to the song. “You want to be American / Get your gun / You’re so free / you can shoot me,” Gordon wittily taunts. Gordon’s critical perspectives on modern American continues with “Psychadelic Orgasm” where she takes jabs at “kids Tik Toking around” over disorienting samples.

“Tree House” is perhaps the most guitar heavy song on the album. Heavily distorted samples, feedbacking guitars, and squealing leads peak in and out, leaving Gordon perfect space to narrate.

Most aging artists might struggle to find their footing in the age of algorithms, A.I and influencers, but on Kim Gordon’s The Collective she is seemingly unphased. Instead, she thrives, making an album that succeeds in being as accessible, and interesting as it is noisy and artsy.

Order The Collective By Kim Gordon HERE


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