I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Michelle Xen is the future of music. A bold and vicious claim I know but in the modern context of evolutionary artists Xen has a million kinds of light and its the kind of light that pop music needs circa 2015. Although you can settle on calling her music “electro pop” I firmly believe it goes so much deeper than that. There is way too much ache in her sound to simply limit it to a “happening now” genre tag. Her music is more traditionally linked to the forward nature of psychedelic rock or experimental noise than just straight pop music. I’d even go as far to compare her ever changing visual and sonic aesthetics with the kind of genius that Bowie executed during the 70’s. The reason why she shares a strong link with Bowie is because for all the glitz, glamour and bubble-gum pop music that frames her sound, Xen is drawing from higher forms of self expression to craft her music. I would argue that it takes a true visionary and student of art to be able to immerse themselves in the more extreme forms of artistic self expression and to come back to deliver us a pop music dialogue as a direct result of its influence. This is what Bowie did and Michelle Xen is high art pop music for those of us who aim and desire to communicate our self expression with a clear and direct intent.
With her new single “Short Term Plan” we see Michelle birth a harsher more extreme rush of beats and electronic sizzle which automatically gives the song a forward motion into 21st Century digital angst. Lyrically the song bounces between the anger, joy, confusion and pressure of modern love. I can imagine that this is the kind of song that was written after Xen found herself once again misunderstood in some kind of romantic relationship. As is my habit, if I am to read into the lyrics I hear the yearning for understanding, from anyone and everyone. It feels like Xen has suffered for her art and because she is such a strong visionary, the modern love story cliché is hard to live because being cursed with the overthinking gene and creative streak pushes you to have the kind of restless nature that needs to constantly explore and expand the possibilities of breathing oxygen. To be limited to the dream of “settling down” sounds like it is a claustrophobic idea to Xen hence the black comedy of her Short Term Plan / Long Term Plan refrain throughout the track. Perhaps I’m right or perhaps I’m way off course, either way that is what I get from the song and it really fucking speaks to that part of me that hurts and that mourns just how many relationships I’ve ruined through the pursuit of art, so in short – perfect pop music.
Whether Michelle Xen remains an underground art hero or ends up becoming a mainstream art warrior fighting for a bit more meaning and depth in this world is up to the fickle and fucked up rhythm of the music industry. If I had all the money in the world I’d pay something or someone to make this happen because her vital communications need to be witnessed by the greater universe. I pray to the greater higher self everyday that we finally get Michelle Xen to break on through and as long as this blog is functioning, I’ll be doing my best to spread the goodness that is her music.
10 Cassette tapes out of 10
By: Dan Newton
Watch the video for Short Term Plan here