Sex dolls, panic attacks, Russian discos.
For such a fun pop album, Pure-O rushes through a dizzying gauntlet of hedonism and despair. Kari Jahnsen uses the giddy and debauched palette of electronic music as a platform to rocket off from. One moment, it’s an exploration of mental illness, the next an ode to robotic dick. And all that was condensed into “The Ghost Ship,” one of the singular pop pleasures of the decade. So listen to our interview with Jahnsen, read our thoughts on “The Ghost Ship” and see why its one of the best of the 10s.
The Ghost Ship
The bastard love child of Beyonce, Gorillaz and Madonna is here. And it comes shimmering in on the sea-sick bass lurch of “The Ghost Ship.” The centerpiece of Farao’s woozy Pure-O is hypnotic. With stuttering hi-hats teetering like a drunk, the “ship” in the title refers to Farao’s own feelings of being tossed and turned through a string of unpredictable relationships, fading in and out of view. On the verses, her voice sings clear and high, her introspective thoughts matched by blazing synthesizers and an undeniable bass line. But once that earworm chorus hits, it’s a tsunami of outside voices; boys, girls, lovers, haters and cheaters all turned into ghosts floating through her head. “I need to get my shit together to be worthy of a man,” she sings, only to later have a petty segment of her brain smirk “I got my hands on your money/ Got my hands on your guy.” It’s a deeply troubled, confused song — except for its musical confidence. There, it’s smooth sailing.