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Kirin J Callinan

Kirin J Callinan

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To make proper pastiche, it takes true love for what you’re taking the piss out of.

Anyone can rip off, it takes a disciple to poke fun and ascend simultaneously. And, miraclously, Australian pop prince Kirin J Callinan pilfered from EDM, country and ‘80s pop to create the silliest love letter of the 2010s. But, in the dark, beautiful corners of Bravado there is a wondrous vulnerability that casts all of Callinan’s prancing and crooning in a new light. This was a labor of exploration, debauchery and a reverent screed to the power of pop music. So listen to our implausible interview with Kirin, read our thoughts on Bravado and see why it’s one of the best of the 10s.

I was trying to find beauty in ugliness. Gravitating toward the worst sounds, the worst lyrics, the worst ideas I could.
— Kirin J Callinan

Bravado

It was all bravado” sings Kirin J Callinan. But was it? Was all the literal shit throwing, the hedonism that would make Caligula blush and the crowd decimating EDM chords Bravado? We’ve got no clue, nor does Callinan. But that’s the center of Bravado’s woozy entertainment. Enough cheese to out-glam a Poison concert and enough drugs to mortally wound a bull elephant later, Callinan is stripped naked, just as confused as we are. 

There’s the bonkers key changes in “S.A.D. (Song About Drugs)” which is a PCP trip on musical quality alone, ignoring Callinan’s croon of “wrapped up in plastic/ thrown down the stairs/ feeling fantastic.” The pop-country life affirmation anthem “Live Each Day” forgets whether Callinan’s kaons of wisdom came from his dad or a “fridge magnet” and, of course, came the impossible meme power of “Big Enough.” So gay cowboys, Alex Cameron cameos and Tinder anthems are all par for the course. But what about venerability and beauty? 

Somehow, in this debaucherous haze, Callinan made the finest pastiche album of the 2010s, in the baffling pantheon next to Ween and Zappa. And just like those loony luminaries, Callinan never lost sight of his love for the music he was parading around. Despite all the piss-taking, Callinan’s adoration for pop music shines through. He kids because he loves.

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