There is something brutal hiding behind Sky Ferreira’s eyes on the album cover for her debut album Night Time, My Time. She is vulnerable and visibly nude, staring into the lens of Gaspar Noe’s camera from behind a shower door. It’s not sexy – it’s disturbing, but beautiful. If it were a screenshot from a movie, you would just know something bad is about to happen.
I asked a few people, “How does this picture make you feel?”
1. “It’s something I want to block out of my mind, I feel like I need to shower. It’s dirty.”
2. “She’s got nice tits!!! She a porn star? Link me.”
3. “I’m so uncomfortable right now. Why is she doing that?”
This visual encapsulates the message of the album’s theme, self-reflection, almost too perfectly.
“Boys” opens the record with the sound of a tape rewinding – it’s soft and clean. It’s a tale about the way some boys hurt a girl one too many times, to the point where their interest is lost until the right one comes. “You put my faith back in boys,” she says as a thunder shock of electronic guitars and drums fall down. “Ain’t Your Right” is Melatonin, her vocals in the verses a light sleep until it switches into a dark nightmare: “It ain’t your right, but that’s ok…I’ll let you slide this one time.” Foreshadowing abuse and numbness, it’s not asking for any sympathy. It’s accepting, and that’s what is scary.
“24 hours” is a gorgeous and emotional disco party starter and ender that sounds angelically grim. It’s the club you never want to leave, and the night you never want to end. “I wish the clock had no hands,” she cries. It’s menacing and heartbreaking, like a song off a revived John Hughes soundtrack. It should be everyone’s new comedown anthem. Nobody puts Sky in the corner!
Lately it is rare to hear a young woman with pop credibility screaming into a microphone, never questioning rage. On “Nobody Asked Me”, Sky is reminding us what rock ‘n roll is all about. Humanized hate. “NOBODY ASKED ME, IF I WAS OK. NO NO NO NO NO!”, she feeds the roaring guitars. It’s vicious and at times: murderous.
“I Blame Myself” is tripped out. The most minimal, accessible, and childlike sound the album has to offer is filled with self-deprecation and years of hurt. “How could you know what it feels like to fight the hounds of hell?” she asks. Then she tells you that she doesn’t care what you think in a soaring, indecisive chorus that sounds like a radio friendly nervous breakdown: “I just want you to know I blame, I blame, I blame myself.. for my reputation.”
The acidic head-trip of “Omanko” is messy to the point where its surrealism is unattainably beautiful and rare. It’s a bit like a .GIF that pops up on your dashboard out of nowhere and you say to yourself: “What the fuck?” But you reblog it anyway ’cause you are intrigued. Nobody will seem to know what is going on in this song: “Oh Japanese Jesus, come on, come on…. I’m gearing up for a Japanese Christmas!” Unreadable and colorful electronica complexities are mixed with slurping industrial guitar licks. It’s an infection.
“You’re Not The One” is a swagged out kiss off. It’s good for driving around California in the day with the top down, and crying alone in your room at 3:00 in the morning.
The rawest and most distinct vocal performance from Ferreira is on “Heavy Metal Heart”. It appropriately feels like what is going on during a heartbroken robot’s last minutes alive before it shuts off forever. The verses transition into moans that sound more like lip-smacks. “I love losing myself, talking to myself in the dark…” she admits in a chillingly soft whisper.
“Kristine” is the conjoined Siamese twin to “Omanko”, another hallucinogenic moment that makes absolutely no sense. Her dissociated dreamy voice makes the lyrics indecipherable, but it sounds dope, like the story is gasping for air. Tinkerbell may have poured some fairy dust on it. It seems to be about a girl in NYC, or an alter ego – an imaginary friend? She rambles on about stabbing pens in her hands, and “shopping with Kristine, the teens and the young millionaires.”
The intensity of emotion heightens in “I Will,” an antagonization filled with threatening guitars and anger. “I’m gonna teach you a lesson, oh I will…. I will!” It’s purposefully mean.
“Love In Stereo” shifts the mood in a short and tranquil dance-cry, a simple and easing delight that is like bathing in sad lasers. “It’s always just stay, never just go…”
“I’m useless and I know it,” is one of her final confessions. “Night Time, My Time” (the title track) is a creepy walk into the forests of Twin Peaks. It sounds different than anything else on the album, and breaks the rhythm and cohesion which is why it’s a genius ending. David Lynch would be proud…
Imperfect, sensitive, neurotic and unafraid to feel, Sky Ferreira wants to let you know she is a human being.
The anti-pop star that is a pop star.
Pop music needs more of those.
The entire LP was produced/co-written by Sky Ferreira, Ariel Rechtshaid and Justin Raisen.
Night Time, My Time by Sky Ferreira is available on (iTunes 10/29/13)