Mark Stewart’s latest release, The Politics Of Envy, was by no means pleasant to listen to. With shrilling vocals and sloppy melodies, I found myself tempted to turn it off frequent times. However, what kept me listening were Stewart’s trademark rage, controversy, and radical ideas. Although I do not find the music itself particularly enjoyable, I was interested to hear what he had to say.
The album begins with the scandalous track “Vanity Kills,” which opens with what sounds somewhat like a radio broadcast. With its and loud and energetic tempo, it certainly caught my attention. Although some of the elements were distracting (the buzzing sound, the abruptly changing tune), the message was clear. The lyrics scream “vicious beauty” repetitively, taking a jab at society’s superficiality.
Similarly, songs “Want” and “Baby Bourgeois” are not catchy or melodic. However, they keep the listener entertained with their undeniable passion and anger. “Want” opens with a bit of pure screaming, before transitioning to an ominous whisper. It asks, “Is it never enough?” in loud, ear-piercing vocals, which are accentuated with seemingly out of place techno noises. However, its sheer unconventionality provides it with some appeal. “Baby Bourgeois” is highly similar in terms of arrangement, but it also delivers an unsettling statement with the words “sanity sucks.”
The Politics Of Envy ends with “Stereotype,” which is perhaps the most prominent example of this idea. It is slow with an incessant, high-pitched sound in the background. Although “Stereotype” is not easy on the ears, it expresses a powerful opinion. It demolishes the judging nature of society and criticizes all prejudices.
Overall, Mark Stewart’s newest album could have been more skillfully arranged. However, Stewart manages to entice music lovers with his strong mindset and passionate lyrics.
In A Word: Controversial