New in 2020: Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

This artist was on my radar, & on the first Friday of this month I discovered their 2020 release on Bandcamp, which I must admit is my preferred platform by far & seems to do right by both artists & fans. The honest scoop is that I really dug this album, then I investigated their back catalog, & now I’m actually in love w/ the release from 2018, Safe in the Hands of Love, but it seems taboo to highlight an artist’s older release when they put out something new just a few months ago. The single “Noid” from the 2018 album in particular is an absolute drop-dead standout monster, & the music video is very timely in relation to current events, even though it’s over a year old. Where I live, there have been at least two weeks of protests in support of Black Lives; there’s video on YouTube circa the second week (?) of a man stopping his truck in the middle of the road to get out & argue w/ people demonstrating; he eventually places his hand on a handgun he has holstered, but doesn’t draw it. I’ve seen all sorts of wild videos from across the country in the past month or so. Turns out, people will display a Confederate flag even in the north, “All Lives Matter” is the slogan of choice even for openly racist counter-protesters (though I saw a sign riffing on this that I liked – “Does Your ‘All Lives’ Include Me?”), & the “Thin Blue Line” flag is a satisfactory replacement for the aforementioned banner of the Confederacy after it was banned from NASCAR. All of that stuff was clearly bullshit from the start used by people to dodge their own racism in bad faith, but it was kind of wild for me to see everything go full mask-off.

Anyway this album! This album became very impressive to me after I became familiar with the one prior & sampled a smattering of even earlier tracks. This album is so pop! Yet Yves Tumor used to make music that sounded “experimental”. Heaven to a Tortured Mind is a startling leap forward in songcraft. So much so that as I scoped music videos on YouTube several people in the comments declared Yves Tumor the “Prince” of the millennial generation. I know, I know, never read the comments, but ugh… I guess that’s meant as high praise, but why does Yves Tumor have to be Prince? Prince’s music already exists; I’d rather they be something new. It surprises me that some people my age who seem to really enjoy music have their ears stuck in the 20th century instead of looking towards the future. Somehow I can’t imagine that when the Beatles were blowing up there were a lot of young people who preferred whatever came before – “Sorry, I’m into OLD SCHOOL… wax cylinders.” Yves Tumor announces it on track one – this sh*t is “Gospel for a New Century”, & it rocks!! (Yes, that title is the phrase Neon Genesis Evangelion rendered in English… but never mind that… it’s kind of an “easter egg.”)

Side B opens with “Romanticist / Dream Palette”, a two-song suite that was released as a single & probably my favorite moment on the album. I admit, part of me can’t help but listen to most of this album & think, “Oh this album is pop??? Yeah, sorry… I feel more comfortable listening to UNDERGROUND music,” & why is that? I instinctively gravitated to the release from 2018, yet my favorite track from it is the scorching-hot single “Noid”, easily the most “pop” moment on the album. I use these descriptors intuitively, but where exactly does the line exist between “pop” & “experimental”, “mainstream” & “underground”? Why should one be preferable to the other? As it happens, Yves Tumor is a maestro at blurring all these worlds together, & I expect their star to continue to rise even higher. Now that I’ve been initiated into the work of Yves Tumor, I have no choice but to stan (this is something Gen Z likes to say… I don’t mean to brag but I’ve kind of got my finger on the pulse), & I celebrate the full range of their output. Oh… Mr. Mike the big music critic (I hate to ever be “critical” but OK go off 🙄), does it scare you that you might be into pop? Well, based on the trajectory of this artist so far, it seems logical that whatever comes NEXT is going to annihilate barriers once again… I need to give it time & in the future when Yves Tumor melts my mind again I’ll see the real problem was that I wasn’t being forward-thinking ENOUGH.

Anyway I’m not dead, my blog is still active, I’m just a thinking feeling human & it took me a while to climb out of a state of depression with everything going on. Today is my second day sober. Shit man, yesterday was fucking easy. I can probably keep this up for 20 years no problem. It’d be a shame if I declared myself cured of alcoholism… and then relapsed for 9 days straight or something… (and then went though the cycle again… and again…) hahaha but that’s crazy! Hahaha just kidding! Whew… stay cool everyone. We’re alive another day.

This album is available on Bandcamp RIGHT HERE, BABYYY

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