Evan Greer - Spotify Is Surveillance Music Album Reviews

Evan Greer - Spotify Is Surveillance Music Album Reviews
The musician and activist’s new album speaks truth to streaming giants, trans exclusionists, and extremely online leftists, but hits its stride at its sweetest and most nostalgic.

Evan Greer’s latest album is a cry against the past year’s numbness. Recorded at the artist’s home in Boston not long after lockdowns began funneling more and more of life into flattening digital channels, Spotify Is Surveillance looks simultaneously to the past and future for motivation and reassurance—anywhere but the deadening now. Greer’s folk-punk songs oscillate between the nostalgic and the propulsive, between grasping at the charge of teenage emotions and envisioning a livable future outside the grip of platform capitalism.

Greer is a digital rights activist as well as a musician, and the title of her new record refers, in part, to a patent Spotify recently secured for technology that would allow it to make music recommendations based on algorithmic voice recognition that could detect attributes like gender, age, and mood. But the title is also a condemnation of how tech companies accumulate data on their users even when they’re not explicitly listening in. A platform like Spotify doesn’t need to hear your voice to surveil you; it starts logging your tastes the second you first hit “play.” Social networks like Twitter and Facebook follow similar logic: They’re only free because users pay for them in taste profiles built from “likes,” making ready targets for advertisers. That’s the bargain Greer rallies against on the song “Surveillance Capitalism,” where she laments the addictive nature of digital connection while collaging together sound bites from radical thinkers like Ursula K. Le Guin (reading her famous “divine right of kings” quote) and Malkia Cyril.

Greer is rightly suspicious of how social media can play host to shallow, showy activism. On the rancorous “Emma Goldman Would Have Beat Your Ass,” she rails against overly online leftists and Cuomosexual liberals alike, putting out an open call for physical bravery over digital posturing. She also takes note of how easily false narratives and bad information can become ammunition in political battles. “The Tyranny of Either/Or,” with its pearly guitar lines and spurring backbeat, touches on the intensifying fight against trans people’s physical and social autonomy, gesturing toward the frame trans-exclusionists typically adopt in their rhetoric. In a weary voice, Greer addresses the enemy directly: “You play the victim/Our existence is a threat/But we are not the ones who declared war.”

More richly layered and crisply produced than Greer’s prior album, 2019’s she/her/they/them, Spotify Is Surveillance hits its stride in its sweeter notes, the songs that prompt longing for physical touch and the now-alien magic of sharing rooms with throngs of other bodies. On “Back Row,” against slow rolls of distortion, she calls on memories of DIY shows, asking gingerly, “Do you remember when/Basements felt like stadiums?” Over a waltzing 3/4 beat, the airy “Willing to Wait” describes a romance on hold during the pandemic, now that physical touch has become a rare and precious commodity. It’s in these melancholy sketches of longing and loss that Greer’s voice assumes its full warmth. As much as she’s practiced in the art of the protest song, the enraged gallop towards the better world, Greer’s knack for storytelling shines most vividly when she’s ruminating on what’s been deferred, forgotten, or lost.

Reckoning with injustice doesn’t only drum up anger. Fear, exhaustion, and sorrow also shade the striving. In her protest songs and her love songs, and in the way they mingle together in the same current, Greer captures the full spectrum of her optimism. It's not just a feeling she sustains in moments of agitation or victory. It’s with her in the lulls, too, the days that feel hollow or wasted, when the present seems unendurable: that pinprick aperture onto the days that are still to come.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Evan Greer - Spotify Is Surveillance Music Album Reviews Evan Greer - Spotify Is Surveillance Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 21, 2021 Rating: 5


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