Rian Johnson gets caught in Star Wars’ tractor beam

Lucasfilm continues to appear bullish on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, tapping writer-director Rian Johnson to helm a whole new trilogy:

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce. 

If you’d told me a few years ago that Rian Johnson, one of my favourite young directors, would one day be directing multiple Star Wars films, I’d have been ecstatic. Upon reading this news this morning, though, my heart sank. Lucasfilm is clearly very happy with what Johnson’s done with The Last Jedi, but it’s going to be the third Star Wars movie in as many years. A new Star Wars film was once a special event, but this recent trend of releasing a new entry each and every year makes them feel regular and commonplace. There’s value in scarcity, after all, and Lucasfilm doling out new trilogies and television shows like sweets is chipping away at the franchise’s cultural weight year by year.

I’m also concerned about what this means for Johnson. His last movie, Looper, was released five years ago, and now it may be just as long again until we see him create another original movie. It appears that he’ll have a great deal of creative control, and indeed is being given free reign to tell a story removed from the Skywalker saga, but he’s still going to be playing in someone else’s sandbox. I enjoy Star Wars and Marvel movies a great deal, and I’m glad both studios are turning to exciting talents like Johnson and Taika Waititi to keep things fresh. It would be a great shame, though, for these directors to be tied up in the machinery of franchise filmmaking for too long, as they’re capable of delivering the original concepts and ideas that Hollywood is in desperate need of right now.

Ridley Scott is an insane person

Ridley Scott is a filmmaker with whom I have a tricky relationship. He’s responsible for some of the most iconic and enduring science fiction films of all time in Alien and Blade Runner, and I loved his more recent effort The Martian. Over the last decade or so, though, he’s taken after George Lucas and diminished the mystique of his earlier work through world-shrinking prequels and revisited director’s cuts. There’s no denying, though, that the man is a machine. At almost 80 years old, he’s still cranking out at least one new film every 12-18 months and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in the wake of the Kevin Spacey scandal, he’s still preparing to release his second film of 2017 in defiance of overwhelming odds. From Deadline:

In an unprecedented bold move, director Ridley Scott, along with Imperative Entertainment’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas have decided to remove Kevin Spacey from their finished movie All The Money In The World. Christopher Plummer has been set to replace Spacey in the role of J Paul Getty. Re-shoots of the key scenes are expected to commence immediately. Scott is also determined to to keep the film’s December 22 release date.

To be clear, that’s the December 22 that’s about six weeks away. Once a sign of a troubled production, reshoots are now a common practice (Marvel projects have additional filming built into their schedules from the very beginning), but this is nonetheless a wild and unique situation. Given that Spacey’s part in All The Money In The World is apparently fairly small, the decision to replace him with Christopher Plummer isn’t all that surprising, and there would be absolutely no shame in delaying the film’s release to accommodate this more comfortable. Scott doesn’t seem to give a solitary shit about comfort, though, and appears to be willing to do whatever it takes to hit his original release date. Having directed and worked on multiple short films of my own, even my minuscule experience is enough to know that filmmaking is really, really difficult at the best of times. Reassembling the cast and crew of the film to reshoot a small but significant chunk of a film weeks away from its release is a huge undertaking, but Scott has proven himself to be nothing if not efficient.

Beyond Ridley Scott’s crazy work ethic and possible insanity, I’m glad that Spacey isn’t taking this film down with him. The wellbeing of Spacey’s victims must be the first priority, but they’re not the only ones affected by his actions. Many more people are involved in making a film or show than its star, and it’s not right that the hard work of hundreds of cast and crew members should go to waste because of Spacey’s perverse conduct. House of Cards will have a harder time completing its final season — they can’t exactly just recast Spacey with Christopher Plummer too — but with Robin Wright as their secret weapon, I hope they’re able to find as elegant a solution as possible to ensure that their livelihoods and years of their work don’t go up in smoke with Spacey’s reputation.


Syd Matters, “Obstacles” – Tom’s Weekly Jam

I’ve recently been playing through Life is Strange, an episodic interactive drama that passed me by when it was first released in 2015. This is a style of game I’ve been intrigued by ever since I first played and fell in love with Telltale’s The Walking Dead series all the way back in 2012, with its branching storylines and shifting character relationships quickly investing me in its plot. The influence of that incredible game is overt throughout Life is Strange, but developer Dontnod brings enough new ideas to the table to keep the experience fresh; unlike Telltale’s ever-growing stable of adaptations, Life is Strange features a completely original premise and cast of characters and, despite not offering the familiarity of a beloved franchise, was very quickly able to draw me into its world.

18-year-old Max Caulfield, a quietly intelligent photography enthusiast, is struggling through her first few weeks at elite arts school Blackwell Academy when she discovers she has the ability to rewind time. This rewind mechanic is put to very creative uses in Life is Strange, serving as not only a tool with which to solve puzzles but also as a way to preview the immediate consequences of decisions made by the player. Early on, shaken by the sight of one student threatening another with a gun, Max must decide whether or not to tell the school principal what she’s witnessed. Will the principal believe her? Will he be more suspicious if Max simply says nothing? While the player must eventually make a final decision, they’re able to get enough of a glimpse of the future to inform their choice. Max’s constant revisiting of her own past eventually has graver consequences but the game remains on a very human level, using a huge science fiction concept to tell a personal, intimate story.

“Obstacles” by Syd Matters, used to score the final moments of Episode 1, is similarly dichotomous in this regard, feeling small and epic all at the same time. As freak snowfall hits the sunny town of Arcadia Bay, we briefly visit each of the major characters in the story as they’re stunned by this strange weather, unaware that it represents a portent of a far more devastating storm. “Obstacles” is a major factor in the success of this sequence, linking these small scenes together and making these disparate characters feel like parts of a bigger whole. Something extraordinary is brewing in Arcadia Bay and its going to impact on the lives of each and every one of these people, something that is all too easy to forget when seeing so much of a story from the perspective of its main character. Other songs by Syd Matters can be heard throughout the game but none are used quite as successfully as “Obstacles”, contributing as it does to a transcendent sequence that is truly moving, something that too many people believe video games to be incapable of.

Weezer show

I’ve seen Weezer live several times at this point, and I’ve developed a pretty good idea of what to expect from one of their shows. They’ll play some of their classics from The Blue Album and Pinkerton, they’ll play just enough of their terrible hits like “Beverly Hills” to be annoying, and they’ll do it all with slick and well-rehearsed professionalism. The last time I attended a Weezer show was right after the release of The White Album, a record that was surprisingly excellent, and so I found myself in the unfamiliar position of actually hoping they’d play some songs from their new album. While I got my wish and was treated to live performances of LA Girlz and Do You Wanna Get High?, the novelty of genuinely enjoying new Weezer material wasn’t enough to make the gig noticeably better or worse than other shows of theirs I’d been to. Much like a Dairy Milk or most Marvel movies, a ticket to a Weezer concert guarantees you a good time, but it probably won’t deliver anything you’re not already expecting.

Colour me surprised, then, that despite Weezer’s recent singles causing me to anticipate new album Pacific Daydream less enthusiastically than I look forward to a punch in the face, I enjoyed the show I attended last Wednesday substantially more than any other Weezer concert I’ve seen. The reason? They kind of kept messing up. Their actual performances of the songs were as rock solid as ever, but it sometimes appeared that each of the band members thought they’d be performing completely different set lists. After opening with the sublime The World Has Turned And Left Me Here, guitarist Brian Bell launched straight into The Good Life and forced Rivers Cuomo to sprint to his microphone in order to begin singing the first verse in time. He made it, but the look on his face betrayed the surprise of a man who only realised he was supposed to be performing this song just as it started. Later in the set, after waiting awkwardly for a few moments for drummer Patrick Wilson to count him in, Rivers realised he’d once again made a mistake and sheepishly explained, “I guess me and Brian start this one”.

Pat hurled a drum stick high in the air and only just caught it. Brian’s guitar faltered and needed replacing mid-song. Rivers misheard a crowd chant and responded with his erroneous version multiple times throughout the night, his error getting funnier every time. These mistakes and imperfections infused the show with a totally new kind of energy, one that I’d never seen at a Weezer concert before. Cuomo is an incredibly calculated writer and performer, for better or worse, and seeing him and his band respond so positively to being pushed out of that comfort zone was a delight. For the first time, I realised I didn’t have a 90% accurate idea of what was going to happen moment to moment at one of their shows, and that was incredibly exciting. I love Weezer when they fumble and screw up; I just didn’t know it until I saw it.

St. Vincent, “Savior” – Tom’s Weekly Jam

St. Vincent’s new album  has been one of my most anticipated records of 2017, and I’m thrilled to say that MASSEDUCTION has completely lived up to my expectations. It’s another home run for singer/songwriter Annie Clark, and another great entry in an all killer, no filler body of work. This album is another home run from singer-songwriter Annie Clark, with fantastic co-production by Clark and Jack Antonoff (producer of another of my favourites from this year, Lorde’s Melodrama). I’m not a fan of the music that Antonoff makes when left to his own devices, but it’s not hard to see why he’s becoming the go-to guy for artists making pop (and pop-adjacent) music. MASSEDUCTION is a treat to listen to, with layered and detailed instrumentation and production that perfectly complements Clark’s songwriting. Her guitar work is as intriguing as ever, with her shredding distorted and affected to the point where it sounds like multiple completely different instruments over the course of the album.

Each St. Vincent album has been immaculately sequenced thus far, and MASSEDUCTION is no different. The record flows perfectly from beginning to end, almost as if it were conceived as one long piece of music rather than a series of individual tracks. While the first six or seven songs are generally more raucous and lively than the slower, more melancholy back half, recurring melodies and instrumental motifs help one section to transition so seamlessly into the other that you hardly notice the change occurring. While MASSEDUCTION isn’t necessarily a concept album, these strong ties between tracks help to unify the record as a cohesive creative work; indeed, this is a record that demands to be listened to from start to finish.

That’s not to say that the songs don’t stand on their own, however. I’ve written before about my love of “Los Ageless”, and like “New York” before it, “Happy Birthday Johnny” is an achingly perfect piano ballad. I’ve found myself returning to “Savior” the most, a funky track that in its opening moments reminds me of Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive”, of all songs. Clark portrays a sexual relationship fuelled by kinks and role-play that ultimately fails to fulfil her emotional needs, which is deceptively heavy subject matter for such a catchy track. That’s sort of St. Vincent’s thing, though, and I’m so glad she’s back with such a brilliant record. I’m seeing her live in Manchester next week, and I can’t wait hear some of these songs live, “Savior” included.

The Rentals, “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad” – Tom’s Weekly Jam

I’ve been a big fan of ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp’s band The Rentals for a while now, ever since I had their first album Return of the Rentals recommended to me a few years ago. Weezer will always have a special place in my heart no matter how many terrible albums they release, but Sharp’s work with The Rentals complements their discography nicely with catchy and fun songs and it’s always great news when they emerge with new music.

In “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad”, Sharp reimagines his life and childhood as having been spent locked in a bitter rivalry with the titular inventor and mega-entrepreneur. Sharp, or at least the version of himself he portrays here, appears to view his life as a waste when compared to that of the founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, and this vein of regret and bitterness informs the entire song. The track goes on to imagine a world in which Sharp finds greatness as the first man on Mars, having found his way there on one of Musk’s rockets. It doesn’t matter that this achievement would far more belong to Musk than it would to Sharp; he just wants the same acclaim and notoriety as his rival, and doesn’t care how he gets it. These lyrics are wistful and forlorn, with Sharp pushing his emotive vocals to their limit as jangly guitar lines and subtle synthesisers fill the song out and, appropriately, give it a somewhat spacey feel. The track ends with a choral arr

Lyrical references to Weezer make it impossible not to think that this song isn’t at least somewhat informed by Sharp’s relationship with former bandmate Cuomo. While Cuomo has always been the sole credited writer of most Weezer material, Sharp’s basslines on The Blue Album and Pinkerton were an integral part of what made those records so engaging, and Weezer’s sound has always been a little empty ever since. While they’ve attempted small reunions over the years, their ‘special brand of dysfunction’ has always nipped any new projects in the bud. It’s a real shame, because their strengths are each others’ weaknesses; Cuomo is a great singer and songwriter but is hampered by his own bad taste, while Sharp has a great ability to fill out and add counterpoint to a track but isn’t as interesting a frontman. They produced the best work of their lives together, but as good a song as “Elon Musk Is Making Me Sad” is, it’s a somewhat painful reminder of a creative relationship that could have reached even greater height.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer

I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out on Star Wars lately. We’ve gone from a world in which it looked like there was never going to be another Star Wars film to a world in which we’ll getting a new one every year for the foreseeable future. This sudden abundance of new movies in this universe, in my view, makes each subsequent film feel less and less like a special event. That’s not to say that the new films aren’t good; The Force Awakens, while overly familiar, is very entertaining, and Rogue One takes a number of tonal and narrative risks seldom seen in huge blockbusters to great effect. It doesn’t help, though, that every single one of my Christmas presents in 2015 was some kind of Star Wars product, or that I’ve put over 150 hours into Star Wars Battlefront since it was released. Star Wars is back and bigger than ever, but it seems to have lost some of its mystique and indefinable power in the process.

All that said, if you’re going to get me interested in Star Wars again then hiring Rian Johnson to write and direct it is a great start. Johnson is one of my favourite working filmmakers, and judging by this preview, he certainly seems to have brought his A game. This is a fantastically constructed trailer, one that swells and rises and offers plenty of tantalising glimpses of scenes while leaving the actual plot still relatively unspoiled. I think we get a good sense of where this story will take the trilogy’s crucial duo of Rey and Kylo Ren in their respective journeys without giving away where they’ll ultimately end up. And how great is it to see Mark Hamill back in the saddle? He’s even got dialogue this time! Luke’s inevitable reunion with Leia is possibly my most anticipated moment of this film, and I’ve got little doubt that Johnson will do something very special with it. On the other hand, though, I’m a little worried that Finn and Poe are starting to feel somewhat vestigial at this point, with no clear purpose for them in this saga beyond the roles they played in Episode VII. On an aesthetic level, this looks to be the most visually compelling Star Wars film yet: the oppressive red and black colouring that dominates multiple shots (as well as the official posters) feels like a new look for the franchise, and hammers home the dark-middle-chapter vibe this movie seems to be shooting for.

I can safely say that while I don’t think I’m quite excited yet, I’m very intrigued. I’m a huge Rian Johnson fan, and a big Star Wars guy. Can this combination reignite my love for the galaxy far, far away? I look forward to finding out.

Kanye West, “POWER” – Tom’s Weekly Jam

Note: I was travelling last weekend, so I’ll be making two Weekly Jam posts in the coming days. I say this not for the benefit of my readers (I don’t have any), but for when I inevitably look back on these posts and am confused by the dates.

I’ve been having somewhat of a difficult time as of late, with life throwing plenty of personal and professional challenges my way. The last couple of weeks in particular have asked a lot of me, and in times such as these it’s prudent to take encouragement wherever you can find it. And so it came to be that on more than one more morning recently, I’ve been playing Kanye West’s “POWER” to pump me up as I get ready for the day.

This track is of immense personal significance to me, and was a key influence in the development of my musical tastes Growing up in the largely white suburbs of Surrey in the mid 2000s, the dominant form of music among my peers was indie rock. Like many teenagers at the time, my iPod was filled with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, the Killers and even, for a brief moment, the Kaiser Chiefs (buying their album was a terrible mistake and I still regret the tenner I spent on it). I didn’t have anyone in my life exposing me to hip hop and, what with the biggest rapper in the game at that time being 50 Cent, I kind of viewed the whole thing as a bit of a joke. It just seemed like a lot of masculine posturing, a flaunting of wealth for wealth’s sake, and I didn’t really pay it much mind or respect.

And then in 2010, I listened to an album that totally changed my mind and opened my eyes to the artistic merits of hip hop. I was ridiculously excited for the then-upcoming film The Social Network, which prominently featured “POWER” in some of its TV spots. Finding what I heard catchy and a little intriguing, I popped over to Spotify and played it… and played it. And played it, and played it, and played it again. I became obsessed with the song, playing it a loop for hours at a time, and it led to me pre-ordering My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The rest is history, and Kanye West has since become one of my absolute favourite musicians, along with a number of other rappers who I wouldn’t have given the time of day in the past.

“POWER” has lost none of that addictive power for me in the years since, and hitting the play button on it will inevitably lead to me listening to it over and over for at least an hour. Those handclaps, those drums, that electric guitar that chanting… The track is perfectly composed and produced, and is edgy and hard-hitting without sacrificing its poppy catchiness. Kanye delivers a great performance, as he always does when he’s hungry and has got something to prove (the release of this song marked his emergence from the self-imposed exile he entered after he upstaged Taylor Swift at the VMAs). “POWER” sees Kanye rapping about the usual Kanye bullshit like how great he is and how other people are stupid for disrespecting him, but here’s the thing: he’s not wrong. Bizarre and obnoxious as his public persona can be, what often gets lost in media coverage of Kanye is that he’s really fucking good at what he does. The music scene would be a lot poorer without Kanye in it, and in this comeback track he makes sure everyone knows it. It certainly worked on me; “POWER” made a Kanye fan for life out of me, and will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Horizon: Zero Dawn thoughts

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the plot of Horizon Zero Dawn, up to and including its ending.

Horizon Zero Dawn is an outstanding game, and if you own a PS4 then you owe it to yourself to play it. It really is as simple as that. I’ve got plenty of thoughts on the game, and will elaborate on many of them here, but the honest truth is that if you overlook this title, you’re denying yourself one of the best gaming experiences of the year. I wish I’d made time for it sooner, but luckily, the fact that Horizon has sold over three million copies since its original release in June means that it was a deserved success with or without my help.

We’ve seen a deluge of post-apocalyptic fiction over the last decade, but Horizon brings something refreshing and different to the genre. This isn’t a story about our civilisation falling apart, but a tale of the people who’ll inhabit this earth long after we’re dead and gone. It’s eventually revealed that the game takes place around a thousand years into the future, with protagonist Aloy learning more and more about 21st century humans and our strange quirks like ‘computers’ and ‘corporations’. Humanity was wiped out by war machines of its own creation, and it has taken nearly a millennium for conditions to reach a point where human beings can once again safely exist. It apparently hasn’t taken long for humanity to default to its destructive tendencies, though, with humans dividing themselves into tribes and fiercely protecting their own territories. Born under mysterious and unnatural circumstances, Aloy comes of age and endeavours to finally gain the respect and acceptance of her own clan, unaware of the greater role she’ll soon play in deciding the fate of her entire species.

That much backstory could easily bog a plot down, but developer Guerilla Games (of Killzone fame) wisely leaves much of this lore for the player to find organically, rather than shoving it in their face. Mementos of the past are abundant throughout the world, from objects as tiny as broken digital watches buried in the ground to the skeletal remains of skyscrapers towering over the landscape. The bodies of humans and animalistic machines lie in clearings, the battles that felled them given new life in the player’s imagination. This game is a masterclass in environmental storytelling; Guerilla has created a beautiful world and filled it with secrets and mysteries, each of which represents a tiny piece of a much larger puzzle. When you throw in a host of mechanical monsters roaming through the fields, mountains and rivers, each sub-species of which reacting to and attacking you in a different way, you get a world where anything seems possible. Anything, up to and including this:

Hahaha, what the hell.

It’s not just Horizon’s world and story that make it a joy to experience, but its gameplay too. It’s not that any of the individual gameplay elements are notably unique in and of themselves: Aloy’s Focus device grants her the equivalent of Detective Vision from the Batman: Arkham series, dialogue options are selected with the conversation wheel from Mass Effect, and the skill tree and item crafting system aren’t anything that hasn’t been done in many other RPGs. The blend of all these systems, however, does provide an extremely fresh gameplay experience. There’s an element of puzzle-solving involved in fighting the machines, with each species having different strengths and weaknesses that must be exploited in order to dispatch with them as efficiently as possible. The combat itself is so versatile that my approach to it hugely over the course of the game; while I started out using mainly bombs and arrows, by the end of the game I was overriding and corrupting enemies and manipulating them into taking each other out while I hid safely in the bushes nearby. I’m a sucker for games that allow for seamless switching between stealth and all-out combat, leaving it to me to decide what tactics to implement in each encounter, and Horizon offer this variety and flexibility in spades.

It’s a pity, then, that the game’s final moments left me with such a sour taste in my mouth. There’s no cheaper move for a story to pull than to immediately undo the events of its climax, but sadly that’s exactly what Horizon does. In a post-credits scene, it’s revealed that HADES, the malevolent AI that serves as the big bad and final boss of the game, is still alive. Okay? So what did I just spend an hour fighting him and his minions for? If this reveal had been saved for the all-but-confirmed Horizon 2, with HADES’ resurrection being revealed early on in the game, I’d be more willing to accept it. After all, it doesn’t feel like a cheat when Darth Vader appears alive and well at the start of The Empire Strikes Back. The last time we see him in Star Wars, his ship has been blown to shit and is spinning out of control into the black void of space. It’s not looking good for him, but his survival feels possible without being assured. That ambiguity is the key; I doubt Star Wars would be as well-loved or iconic if it included a stinger scene of Vader trying to hitch-hike his way home from the Outer Rim. I think Horizon should have employed a similar tactic here: if they really have bigger plans for HADES, then let us feel like we’ve achieved something before bringing him back.

That’s a relatively minor complaint, though, and it certainly didn’t impact on my enjoyment of the game in any significant way. I’d put around 60 hours into Horizon by the time I finished the main quest line and would have been glad to see it go on longer, if only to spend more time in Guerilla’s gorgeous world. I’m greatly looking forward to the Frozen Wilds expansion, which promises add new quests, machines and areas to an already gigantic experience. That a game can go on for so long, and pack in so much content, without outstaying its welcome and even leaving an audience begging for more is a sure sign of something special. If you’re a latecomer like me, then please don’t wait too much longer. Horizon is an incredible game and, presumably, the start of something even bigger and better, and you’ll want to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be Sony’s next enormous franchise.

Partner, “Play the Field” – Tom’s Weekly Jam

Another crazy week at work has once again left me relying on my Discover Weekly playlist for my Weekly Jam, but that’s fine because “Play the Field” by Partner is another really good track. This song by the Canadian pop-rock duo deals with the pangs of high school love, a situation complicated by the protagonist’s reluctance to admit her feelings lest she be bullied for being a lesbian. I can’t relate to that aspect specifically, but everyone remembers what it was like to have that first crush, to notice another human in that way for the very first time. This track is fuelled by that all-consuming infatuation, and is so charmingly earnest that it’s only slightly annoying when singer Josée Caron yells ‘Guitar!’ before unleashing a solo.

There’s a really sweet and innocent quality to the lyrics; though the song depicts the burgeoning sexuality of its school-age characters, it’s more about the butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation that young love inspires than anything untoward. Similarly, the composition and instrumentation is simplistic but extremely effective. Though I like to think my musical palette is a bit more complex now than it was when I was 13, I’m still a sucker for a cathartic power chord progression and some palm muting. “Play the Field” instantly sends me straight back to my teenage years when, for better or for worse, every emotion I felt was the most extreme version of it possible, and for a simple three minute rock song to have that kind of effect isn’t half bad.

I’ve given the whole album, In Search of Lost Time, a couple of listens and really enjoyed it. There’s not a huge amount of variety there, but songs like “Everybody Knows” and “Comfort Zone” . Unfortunately, what should be a quick and breezy listen is bogged down by several tedious ‘skits’. Didn’t bad rap albums kill those off at least a decade ago? Well, they’re back, and while they probably only total a couple of minutes, they never fail to stop the flow of the album dead in its tracks. Maybe they’d be easier to deal with if they weren’t so, well, pretentious? I don’t tend to find that word particularly helpful, but there’s no other way to describe recordings such as “The World Needs a Good Band” in which the need for a band that ‘really excites people’ is lamented.

Look, I don’t really buy into the whole ‘rock is dead’ narrative – musical trends wax and wane, and guitars will be back – but if rock really does need a saviour, it’s not Partner. Their music is good, and very enjoyable, but it’s not exactly Great with a capital G. And that’s okay! There’s enough bands in the world that they don’t all need to be forging the future of their respective genres. Sometimes music just needs to be fun and catchy and emotive, and that’s what Partner is to me. I don’t need anything more than that from them, and I hope they come to find that they don’t, either.