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Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky Music Album Reviews

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit a tense, beautiful, lo-fi landmark from the second wave of black metal.
In the fall of 1971, a child is born in a remote village in Norway. He will one day rechristen himself Fenriz, after the Earth-swallowing wolf, Fenrir, who appears in Norse mythology and the Satanic Bible. But for now, he is Gylve Nagell, being raised by his grandmother, spending inordinate amounts of time alone. The pivotal moments of his childhood occur while listening to records, music introduced to him by an eccentric uncle named Stein. Pink Floyd catches his ear; a few songs by the Doors hold his attention; but it’s the English progressive rock band Uriah Heep that blows his mind. He’s entranced by the heavy organ sound, the cryptic lyrics, and the mysterious men with long hair who appear on the album’s cover. He cherishes the triple-fold LP like an heirloom from…

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G Flip - About Us Music Album Reviews

Georgia Flipo follows up her viral hit “About You” with a pop debut that hopes to re-bottle the song’s charm.

When the Melbourne band EMPRA broke up in 2016, touring drummer Georgia Flipo took it as a signal to start making her own music. She spent the following year isolating herself in her bedroom, eschewing friends and family and emerging with the viral hit “About You” in early 2018. Built around a rumbling synth and cresting with a massive, over-the-top drum fill, the song bore traces of Art Angels-era Grimes and seemed preordained for success, especially paired with its endearingly lo-fi video.


“About You” was an anthem of unspecific longing and indecision: “Just let me go/Give me one more chance, baby,” she pled in the bridge. About Us, her debut album, spends its entirety in this same purgatory. The first lyric of opener “Lover” is effectively the album’s thesis: “I just wanna be your lover/You know that we ain’t friends.” The song revolves around that couplet at a glacial pace, and each time Flip repeats it, her voice grows more ragged. Without any specificity to add color to the troubled relationship in question, though, the song remains shrouded in opacity. A surprising number of other torch songs follow “Lover,” considering the album’s modest 10-track length, and none is more revealing than any other. “Morning” sees Flip pining for the same absent lover but admitting no fault for why that lover might be gone (“I fucked up” is all she reveals). Immediately after is “Waking Up Tomorrow,” which sounds like the same slow piano ballad, just more plaintive and desperate. “Bring Me Home” leads the album’s come-down and is a rewrite of Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s “Stay.”

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Between the fretting love songs are Flip’s more straightforward attempts at crafting viral hits. On “I Am Not Afraid,” she offers up a self-help anthem on the order of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and Katy Perry’s “Roar”: “I am not afraid to do this alone/I know that it scares you but I am my own home,” she sings. The piano intro to “Drink Too Much” generates a little excitement with its almost-quote of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” but again succumbs to the plight of non-specificity. It’s a song about losing someone because of your bad habits, but that much is evident from the title alone. “Stupid” tries on the glowering noir-pop production of Banks and Halsey. “Why we always actin’ stupid?/Why we always do this, do this, do this to ourselves?” she asks. But—do what to themselves? Act stupid how? Without more detail, it’s hard to care.

There is one welcome moment of certainty on the album. On “Killing My Time,” G Flip’s voice gains a self-assured edge that’s not present anywhere else. The song opens with a dancehall-inspired beat that simmers in the background as she exclaims: “Leave me baby/Please leave me alone.” It’s perhaps the most definitive statement on the whole album, one made more effective by an infectious hook that echoes “The Middle,” last year’s inescapable collaboration between Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey. “Killing My Time,” with its feeling of resolution, would do well as the album’s penultimate track—a position held instead by “About You.” Structured as it is, the album concludes in largely the same place where it begins.

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