(The year 2020 marks my 50th birthday. Leading up to the day (22nd November), I’m planning on writing a blog entry for each year, picking a song or an album from then that I love, talking a bit about why, and giving it some context in my life)
Sometimes, records can take ages to seep into your affections, but occasionally, you’re hooked right from the moment you first press play. This was the case with Violence by Editors, an album that to me just appeared out of nowhere.
This was weird, as I’ve been an Editors fan ever since their first album. For me, they are at their best when they mix their music between the organic and the electronic. Up until Violence, my favourite was In This Light and on This Evening, a fantastic blend of old synths and grungy guitar sounds. Stand out track for me is Bricks and Mortar, with its stunning keyboard line and repeated bass.
I always like their stuff, but find their lighter moments a bit spartan, particularly 2015’s In Harm, a record that didn’t capture my imagination one bit. I tried, I really tried, but the whole album seemed too flimsy for my tastes, lacking the punch of their earlier work.
And then along came Violence. I have one of those very “hard to describe” jobs, where I spend some of my time gathering information from groups of people and the rest of my time alone in a quiet room piecing it all together, and in those situations, I will listen to music. I found a tucked away place at the top of my office building one day and, sat with sheets of paper and post-its sprawled over the table, reached for my phone to find something to listen to.
Clicking on NEW MUSIC I was amazed to see that there was a brand new Editors album, released that very day, that I had no anticipation of. So I put it on, and listened to it. And then again. And again. Five times over, one after the other, each time enjoying it more and more. I think it is simply a fantastic album.
It reminds me most of Violator by Depeche Mode, in my humble opinion one of the greatest albums of all time. Five tracks on one side, four on the other. Even the quieter songs are in the right place, and track 3 has an extended, electronic ending. I think the title track is one of the best things Editors have ever done, with so much warmth and richness to the synth sounds that circle and flow during that closing minutes. Even the cover reminds me of Violator.
Equally good is the album of earlier version of the song that make up Violence, that form The Blanck Mass Sessions, where producer Ben Power helped to mould the songs. Some critics were a bit snooty about Violence, calling it out for being too poppy, or too commercial, but that is exactly what I like about it. Editors made their music accessible, with very little compromise, and I hope they continue in a similar vein.