Black Bordello return with 'Love is a Joke'
Words by Angelika May
The resurrection of Black Bordello exemplifies the band's tenacity to curate theatrical expositions that captivate us, as we unravel the obscurities that make this avant-garde band so obsessively mystifying. “Love is a Joke” is a meticulously crafted arrangement, where vocals, music and choreography personify each characteristic associated with the feeling of love. When these elements come together, they create a vortex that captures the capricious nature of love.
Sienna Bordello’s airy vocals, express the tenderness of affection which draws us into the track with a gradual intensifying sense of indignation, describing the false promises we are taught about love: ‘Love is a joke that I wasn’t told at nine years old.’ This sensibility reaches a charged climax as the chorus plunges into discordance, exemplifying Bordello’s emotional ferocity in portraying the tumultuous nature of love. Bordello’s lyricism continues to explore the zeniths and nadirs of love, describing that “love is a drug”, but that she “overdosed” resembles the intoxicating yet often detrimental high we chase.
“Love is a Joke” moves away from the jazz-flecked tones, predominant in previous singles such as ‘Drones’, released in 2021 and instead, hones in on the art-rock genre which serves the track well. Opening the track with a solitary bassline (Anthony Boatright) immediately sets the stage for Black Bordello’s trademark gritty post-punk sound. Turned on its head by the introduction of Hania’s flute, which adds a romantic quality and an evolution to Bordello’s sound. As the pace canters with a sleek and energetic beat (Eddie Amos), eerie guitar lines (Jerome Alexandre) slice through the track cultivating a woeful symposium that mirrors the pangs of love.
Bordello’s poetic visions are not only evident in her writing but have now stretched into a visual realm, the music video for ‘Love is a Joke’, through intimate choreography comprised of stylised movement, embodies the physically taxing yet alluring push and pull between us and the ones we love. Emphasising the sentiment that, yes love is a joke, but one that we continue to play and often relish in its drama.
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