Review: Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time
Somethingyousaid.com’s Marcus Thane listens to Sky Ferreira’s newest release and discovers that ‘Night Time’ isn’t Sky’s Time:
To say that Sky Ferreira is one of the most interesting people in music today would normally cause a mild hysteria among most. But she is, at least to me. You see, for a majority of people she exists in the public eye as a model: walking for Marc Jacobs, musing for Karl Largerfeld and having cheekbones like some ceramic sculpture. To say that a model sings and performs as an artist in the music industry is generally considered to be a bit of a joke and the product of an opportunistic major label. This is not quite the case with Sky Ferreira. She is first an artist, and openly discusses modelling as a form of income, not passion. But her modelling, music and what we see of her personality really do not add up, and that is what makes her so interesting.
Signed to a major at young age, in the hope of producing Britney 2.0, she was heavily crafted and moulded to fit a massive mainstream audience. But a square peg doesn’t quite fit in a round hole, and Sky Ferreira is a fucking square. Kicking out against her label over the course of what, five years, the label finally, finally, cut the corporate choker and handed over a little bit of artistic freedom. And so we ended up with her debut Night Time, My Time and what a bizarre, backwards mess it is.
Opening with the relatively tackily titled and sounding Boys, Ferreira chants “boys they’re dime a dozen” and ends with the cheese of “you put my faith back in boys”. It’s a completely drab scuzzy pop song, which I can’t really imagine anyone enjoying apart from the mass of tumblr and instagram followers who worship Ferreira and yearn for a cliched teen love song with an indie twist. It even features the incredibly inventive lyric “Cross my heart hope to die/Stick a needle in eye,” which is just so dumb, I can’t. While last year’s single Sad Dream was a completely emotive, subtle lyrical masterpiece, generally the lyrics on NTMT are a complete flop.
It’s hard to say what Sky Ferreira’s sound is, or ever was. First there was the acrylic single One, from the heinous days of major label control. Then there was last year’s brilliant collage of genres on the ‘Ghost’ EP, featuring the sublime single Everything Is Embarrassing.
‘Night Time, My Time’ was pretty much banged out over the course of two weeks with the two producers and songwriters, and you can tell. All that she wants to say is there, but it’s a fucking mess. This is where the interesting personality factor of Sky Ferreira comes in. Look, I don’t know her, and I know it is even stupid to pass some personality judgement now… but from all the interviews and articles I’ve read on Ferreira, she seems to be incredibly intelligent, introspective and fairly haunted by anxiety and depression. In nearly every video interview she squirms and coils away – a far cry from what you’d think on seeing her modelling and music videos. Even in the clip to Everything is Embarrassing, we see a very confident Ferreira, doused in a fat pout and exerting a bit more of the popstar stereotype mainstream media throws at us.
So, free from the creative restraints of her label, I took NTMT as an album aiming to bridge that personal and public gap – portraying that she isn’t some perfect pop model but rather a pretty troubled person. When I saw the album art (pictured right) I practically fist punched the air as it is so unconventional, so manic, and defies all those perfect expectations. All Ferreira’s angst is channeled and smashed out, but musically it is a poorly executed splatter of fairly shit guitar pop.
There is I Blame Myself which discusses this exact discrepancy between her reputation and who she is and even examines the effect of her early signing to a label. It is well done and is infinitely more interesting than the rest of the album but the melody in the chorus just irks me so much, with Ferreira belting “I blame myself….fooooooorr my reputation” over this cute mid tempo beat. Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay) again addresses the side of Ferreira that isn’t quite known, and it’s where Ferreira really hits her stride on the album. The lyrics are clear, her voice sounds so genuinely impassioned, and the music is a bit Courtney Love goes Kelly Clarkson.
There are other moments of brilliance, You’re Not The One is an absolutely great pop song, and I Will has infectious cooing hook behind it, but the rest of the album is really just shallow, uninteresting dirge. It’s such a shame, as I came to this album with such high expectations and was under the assumption that after all her label grief and years of struggle, ‘Night Time, My Time’ would come as a fully formed dynamic piece of indie-pop crossover.
Well, her vision isn’t clear but, the process of this album was fairly unnatural: two weeks to make a debut? Maybe this is again what Sky Ferreira so interesting. She’s slowly finding her feet, both personally and musically, and with a voice like that the best is definitely to come, just ‘Night Time, My Time’, isn’t right this time.
Words by Marcus Thaine.