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LMK

Single Review

LMK by Star Madman

Author: Cocaine for Toothaches

Magic.


For a few, music is an annoyance. An oddity. A frivolity. A profanity.


        For some, music is background noise. A distraction. An accompaniment to the mundane. A soundtrack to the party.


                For others, it is a pleasure. A chance to feel better, or revel in feeling worse.


                      Indulging emotions.
                         All these angles are perfectly fine and valid, of course. No argument.


                            But

For a minority, music isn’t an accompaniment. It is core. It is transcendental. Music is a vehicle that resides within. 

That vehicle has the road map to the Great Beyond, and once in a while, the right piece of music comes along that can fire up the willing engine of that vehicle and we get to go. We get to go to that place TM. If you’ve been to that place you know what it is. If you haven’t, I can’t possibly adequately describe it to anyone. Much like ‘Big Sky Country’ is meaningless to anyone who hasn’t been there, but if you have, like I have, and witnessed a thunderstorm that could engulf a planet, and what it feels like to stand underneath it, then you know. If you have been to that place, where all your emotions well up from nowhere and swim together and you simultaneously have died a thousand deaths but also you became a fucking god, sovereign over the entirety of the universe—you know how terrifying and indescribably incredible it is.

The specific music that can transport a person to that place is as varied as the number of people on the planet. I will not judge how any music hits any individual. I can only speak to my own experiences. There are only a handful of musical endeavors (or less) that have transported me in such a way. The last was Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska,” and I was beginning to doubt whether I’d find another, as modern music seems to not affect me the way emotionally like it used to. When you’re too busy yelling at clouds, it’s apparently a lot harder to access heaven.

And then a song dropped.

Just a single, seemingly nondescript, by an artist I had encountered a couple of times before. “LMK” by Star Madman. I had heard Star Madman recently, notably in cameo/features she’s sang for other artists. Pop synth stuff. I really do like pop synth stuff, I listen to it quite a bit, but to me it’s accompaniment. It’s fun to sing along to but it doesn’t tend to hit me. It’s great to hear in the car but I don’t get meditative or philosophical about it.

But this song, the quaintly-entitled “LMK”, ooof.

 

“The Music hits you, and you feel no pain.”

The bass. Almost formless, barely-perceptible pitch outline a D minor – C major chord pattern, which repeats for the entirety. The bass is sub-bass, deep and rich but without defining characteristics, so it never gets in the way of anything. Much like a Victorian child-ghost, rhythmically roaming the alcoves of the manor but never really materializing, in search of her hand-sewn doll for the last 170 years. Up and down the halls for eternity, but never posing a real threat, just a phantasmal presence. Light percussion.

Vocals come in, in mono, highly saturated, with a copy dropped an octave, dry and without atmosphere

MY DEAR LORD WE’VE LOST HIM. TIME OF DEATH: 0:44

44 seconds.
44 seconds, the heavens opened. Infinite time and space appeared out of nothing.

I held Saturn in awe and wonder with my left hand and destroyed all of humanity with my right.
That Place.

 

“So take me
Take me away from here
And don’t leave me
All alone and disappear
And save me
Save me from the fate I fear
I get weak
When the future’s so unclear”

The longing and the desperation. The words we could only hope our beloved would utter. Vulnerable in the face of the universe, yet awaiting our arrival. The voices transform from saturated to ethereal, split into stereo, soaked in a universe of space. The electric piano is perfect, dancing betwixt the stars. A mournful cello. Slight layers of synth pads leapfrog in and out.

The verse repeats, unexpectedly, in spoken voice with glitch and stutter effects reminiscent of the glitch layers of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place.” Which really is an apt description of this piece. Everything is perfect. The layers, the sounds, the echoes through the universe, the transitions, everything. Even the little things: when Star Madman sings “Don’t leave me” and “I get weak,” the lines end with the vocals trending upwards, which is in contrast to the rest of the song (and indeed to most chilled- out songs) which has the lines ending downwards. Lines that end downwards are natural-sounding, since we’re out of breath and finishing our thought. And if we’re in relaxed mode, our speech tends downward from the start of a phrase to the end automatically. But these upward-trending lines invoke a deep longing, a desperate emotion, a hand reaching to hold you in the darkness, pairing perfectly with the
words. And the words at the end only reinforce this feeling, an intense need to be with one’s soulmate:

 

“Only a moment
When do you want it?
When are you comin’?
When do you want in?
Honey, I’m open”

Words we all desperately want to hear.

Star Madman did all the writing and production and performing herself. Friendly Timo mastered the track. What can I say that I haven’t already?

It’s perfect.

  It is literally the best song I’ve heard in at least five (5) (cinco) years.

It may not hit you the way it hit me. You may or may not be open to having this song take you to that place. But there’s no harm in giving it a shot. You won’t be disappointed at any rate. Chillpop at its absolute finest.

” O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother LMK.”

LMK Released on February 3rd, 2023 and can be heard/purchased HERE

Follow Star Madman at the following links: 

BANDCAMP

TWITTER

About the author:
 Coke has been around music a long, long time. As a child in a family of musicians and in-and-around a family-owned studio in the 1980’s, he has seen the ups and downs of the music scene and lifestyle. He plays/has played several instruments including piano/keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, and even dabbled on low brass and drums for a bit, as well as being a bang-average vocalist. Coke studied (and won departmental awards in) composition, theory, and classical guitar performance during undergraduate work, as well as taught private guitar lessons for children and adults. He spent ten years (up until the pandemic) as a superstar guitarist/bassist/musical
director in the CCM world, before crashing down to earth, humbly surrendering all that non-existent fame and fortune for the quiet life. He now endeavors on synthwave-adjacent music, working as a shipping boss, and living with his wife and (some of) his six grown children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA.

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