Album Review: ANOHNI – Paradise

By Eli Schoop, Copy Editor
[Secretly Canadian; 2017]
Rating: 4/10

Key Tracks: “Jesus Will Kill You,” “She Doesn’t Mourn Her Loss”

ANOHNI doesn’t deal in the subtle. Her new EP, Paradise, is a companion piece to the dread that inspired HOPELESSNESS, insofar as its global standpoint on suffering and modern mayhem. Relaying the emotions of her subjects that appeared in the Park Avenue Armory show, she combines the arena pop production of U2 or Coldplay with an alienation from the sociopathic nature that surrounding living in 2017.

Unfortunately, this kind of ambitious endeavor fails ANOHNI when execution steps in. She is far too concerned with the big picture this kind of music sends, neglecting to interconnect the music in an emotional manner. Take for example, “Paradise.” It’s a pop tune more in line with a manufactured A&R wunderkind than any sort of radical leftist anthem fighting for social change in an unjust ecosystem. This kind of problem also manifested itself on HOPELESSNESS, where Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke seemingly don’t have compatible production styles dealing with too experimental or too bombastic to function.

Far from being emotionally effective, Paradise casts doubt on ANOHNI’s ability to properly analyze why she had such a faithful following from her time with Antony and the Johnsons. Her pop flavors mixed with a timeless voice had critics and fans salivating over the galvanized aura she presented. These recent pieces, however, leave a sour taste where there originally was satisfying umami. Both “Jesus Will Kill You” and “She Doesn’t Mourn Her Loss” approach classic ANOHNI moments, but they are still fleeting compared to the euphoria previously known.

There’s no doubt that ANOHNI has the ability to produce a massively creative and terrific project which accurately addresses the ennui we all share in the modern world: This, is not it. The vast self-importance sprinkled all over her treatises and statements match musically what she presents but in the worst way possible. One would rather look to visionaries such as Arca or Elysia Crampton in order to find a queer machination that properly deals with world-weariness and the passage of unsure living. For now, Paradise does not suffice in addressing these issues.

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