I don’t know how Matt Johnson does it, but he always manages to say what’s been on my mind. In this case, thinking about what life gives and takes away…and our part in it.
The The hasn’t released any rock albums since 2000’s NakedSelf. He’s slipped out three soundtracks (Tony, Hyena and Moonbug) in the last few years, and just this year he’s released a box set of sounds and commentary from his occasional shortwave radio show, Radio Cinéola. It contains exactly one new The The song, “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming”, dedicated to his recently-deceased brother Andrew.
I think I need to give his early albums a spin again. They’ve always been a hard listen; they’re not painful, but they pull no punches whatsoever. They’ll pull the curtains down to reveal the shittiness of the world, but at the same time they’ll also reveal how beautiful and precious it is.
The Inertia Variations is a documentary made about his inability to release anything new over the last decade and a half other than his soundtracks. I have not yet seen it (he’s currently touring it around the UK) but I’m hoping it’ll be available to us here in the US sometime next year. It’s an interesting title and idea, really. It’s about a man stuck in stasis, unsure of where he wants to go, or if he wants to go anywhere at all. It’s not entirely laziness, it’s also an inability to find purchase on stable ground.
And I’m sure we’ve all felt that. Whether we want to admit it or not.