Princess Superstar Ė "My Machine"
Call off all space missions. Thereís no need to consult your astrological charts. Tarot cards? Yesterdayís news mate. Tales from the future have just been beamed back from a far off time (we canít be sure from when exactly, because so legend Ė can it be legend if it hasnít happened yet? But then, it kind of has. Freaky. Anyway, so legend has it, everyone stopped counting time after 3005. Apparently they argue it takes too much time) and, sorry chaps, it ainít good news.
So who is the architect of this dystopian news report? Whose scriptures will single-handedly make those predicting the future, shaping the future, understanding the future, redundant? Well, you canít say you werenít warned...
You see, in the year of our Lord 2080 the world succumbs to the somewhat inevitable doomsday scenario. Our brave new world is devoid of soul, its inhabitants unquestioning automatons. Indeed the power of the morally bankrupt sphere of advertising is such that children are no longer given recognisable Christian names: rather their personalities have been sold off to the highest commercial bidder and they are now known by instantly dubious advertising slogans such as Coke Is It or Just Do It.
At the heart of this maelstrom exists the one and only Princess Superstar. Having sold her soul to a computer in some Faustian pact, Superstar controls all levels of celebrity. She is the only pop star; the only actor; the only weather girl; the only supermodel. Sickeningly, this orgy of self-publicity knows no bounds, her levels of ego are off the scale. Princess Superstar is now The Superstar. Her wishes the paramount business of 10,000 dutiful facsimiles known as Duplicants.
Disturbing eh? Well, thankfully, thereís a flipside. Fast forward a few hundred years and true peace has descended upon Earth. The Superstar is nothing more than a dark blot on the landscape of humanity, a cautionary tale warning of the perils of fameís ultimate vacuity. Humans have finally rid themselves of the last vestiges of their chains, both figuratively and literally. The Great Brain Revolution of 3005 has ensured spiritual fulfilment.
Sound far-fetched? Well letís hope so. For in the imagination of Concetta Kirschner, aka our vainglorious anti-hero Princess Superstar, resides a kernel of truth. Our very way of life is going down the shitter. As we worship at the altar of false idols Ė a capitalist conspiracy to keep us acquiescent happy consumers? Ė traditional bonds are being torn asunder.
Such is the premise for Princess Superstarís fifth album, My Machine. By turns crazy and hilarious, hideous and alluring, deranged and disturbing, and never less than compelling, Superstar has mapped out a playful alternative universe on which to shock, scare, provoke and entertain. It might be an exaggerated sense of reality, but Princess Superstar ainít pulling her arsenal of punches.
In essence, My Machine sees Princess Superstar assume the guise of a time travelling Charles Darwin with nihilist tendencies. Itís a musical hiphopera concept album. Itís her Tommy. Itís also her most impressive and cohesive (for all itís dizzying scope!) statement to date.
Having returned to her New York home after the inordinate success of her last album, Princess Superstar Is, which of course contained the bona fide UK top twenty hit Bad Babysitter, My Machine shows that Superstar hasnít been idly basking in the afterglow of that albumís refracted glory. Acting like a rapacious musical sponge, the sassy, super smart, Princess has cocked her ear to the best of all sonic worlds.
Naturally based in the cutínípaste hip hop aesthetic that has defined her career, her fifth opus is light years away from being a regular hip hop album. She might still be rhyming her way through a multitude of lascivious rhymes (none more so than on first single Coochie Coo), but this is a thrilling, riotous and high octane romp through electro, Miami bass, techno, digital dub, punk disco, and rockíníroll (phew!). Itís as if the streets of New York, London and Berlin have come alive as one. Magical; mesmerising; magnificent.
Her forays into freaky dancing Ė most notably her DJs Are Not Rockstars shindig with Alexander Technique Ė have offered her new avenues of exploration. Her time spent in the company of DJ Hell, Felix Da Housecat et al has been put to good use. This post-modern melange sees Debbie Harry reborn as Ziggy Stardust.
Having worked with Jacques Lu Cont, Junior Sanchez, Armand Van Helden, Arthur Baker (who also is executive producer on the project) and Mighty Mi, all the latest tricks are in there. She goes ballistic on the supersleuth beat heavy power pop of I Like It A Lot; old school on the infectious 10,000 Hits (featuring the immortal line ĎI donít care if itís shitty/Do you know who once won a Grammy?/Ace Of Base and Milli Vanillií); slinky electro-pop on the strident Iím So Out Of Control, and delirious new wave on Artery.
My Machine is a gloriously literate slice of 21st Century pop: itís trashy, clever, dumb, disposable, thoughtful and multi-textural. Itíll make you laugh, itíll make you cry, itíll make you pull your hair out in frustration.
In other words, it's the perfect soundtrack to the end of the world as we know it. Or it might just be one big joke. Either way you can't ignore it.
For more on Princess Superstar, read the WHOLE story!