Kill for Love
Italians Do It Better
Apr 24, 2012 Web Exclusive
Kill for Love opens with the unlikeliest of covers—a watery, electronic take on Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)." An allegory for what Young saw as his own growing irrelevance, the song spawned his most quoted lyric—"It's better to burn out than to fade away"—which is perhaps the saddest of rock 'n' roll credos (its appearance in Kurt Cobain's suicide note rendering it all the more tragic). Neither option—the burning nor the fading—is a particularly desirable one, but for all but the most fortunate of artists, they're two separate paths to the same inescapable reality.
When Chromatics singer Ruth Radelet sings those words, they're part of the record's running theme of decay. Like Night Drive before it, Kill for Love is future music straight out of 1978. The feeling of fading, aging, decaying is present not only in the sounds of the vintage synths and crackling remainders of the analog recording process, but throughout the lyrics. You'll find it in song titles such as "Dust to Dust," "The Eleventh Hour," and "A Matter of Time," and in the way the drums methodically tap away like a quickly ticking clock.
At over 90 minutes, Kill for Love offers a rare listening experience, being of similar size and scope to match the sprawl of such colossal double albums as The Beatles (White Album), Double Nickels on the Dime, or The Wall. The track sequencing is meticulously well thought-out—the initial cut of the record was an even more immense 37 tracks, trimmed down to 17—and gives the album a weave and flow that makes incredible sense. With a clear opening and finale, upbeat moments and downbeat ones, romance, tragedy, and plot twists, Kill for Love feels less like an album and more like a feature film. Chromatics are ever conscious of how the movement of time can shape the way we listen to a song, and are masters at manipulating that to their advantage. (www.vivaitalians.blogspot.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10