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15 Reactions I Had to Neko Case’s Hell-On

Is that a thumb piano playing the opening notes of this song? (“Hell-On”)

I will be humming the “nothing quite so poison as a promise” break from “Hell-On” to myself until I can’t stand it anymore.

And me, I am not a mess
I am a wilderness, yes
The undiscovered continent for you to undress
But you’ll not be my master
You’re barely my guest
You don’t have permission to take any pictures
Be careful of the natural world

ECO-FEMINISM! Also, #metoo (“Hell-On”)

Neko Case writes the best songs about sad things. (“Halls of Sarah”)

This may be the catchiest song about bad luck ever written. Also, the song is actually called “Bad Luck.” (“Bad Luck”)

With all due respect to the New Pornographers, case/lang/viers, and Isobel Campbell, I wouldn’t mind a Neko Case/Mark Lanegan album (“Curse of the I-5 Corridor”)

“Forebodingly catchy” is a designation that Neko Case is wonderful at evoking. I feel like a David Lynch collaboration should happen at some point. (“Curse of the I-5 Corridor,” “Dirty Diamond”)

“Gumball Blue” sounds like a New Pornographers song. Fittingly, A.C. Newman guests on this track.

Way too earnest paragraph about the writer’s emotional response to the music: “Oracle of the Maritimes” is some next-level commentary on femininity and some of the pressures placed on women to look perfect at all times.

There needs to be a Neko Case/Beth Ditto collaborative album in the works, please (“Winnie”). Can you IMAGINE what a Beth Ditto song featuring Neko Case would sound like?

“Sleep All Summer,” covered with its original singer-songwriter, Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers, is very power-ballady at times, and yet I am absolutely charmed.

The unsettling thing about “My Uncle’s Navy” is its chord progression sounds super retro, fairly peppy–and most definitely at odds with the song’s lyrics (an abuse narrative).

I know I might get AT LEAST one person on Twitter who thinks that it is unforgivable that I didn’t address their favorite song from Hell-On in this review. Sorry, bro, you’re right, it is unforgivable. If anyone wants to @ me with something clever (ie: “I’m surprised that your article isn’t HEAVIER, with all the names and random pop culture virtue signaling you dropped”) I might be willing to listen to a rant.

Between this album and Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, it is going to be tough for me to pick a favorite album of 2018. (I am writing this sentence in June.)

If you’re still reading this, please procure a copy of this album as soon as you can.

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Anna Hamilton

Anna Hamilton is a writer, cartoonist, and gadfly residing in the Bay Area.