Alex Turner as sleazy romantic-cum-nervous wreck is best evinced by “Do I Wanna Know”, in which he burbles on the brink of being overwhelmed with infatuation. “I’ve dreamt about you nearly every night this week”, he confesses in the first verse, and later, afraid he’s missed his chance, he asks, “Been wondering if your heart’s still open / And if so, I wanna know what time it shuts”.
The remainder of this mixtape explores a similar mood. It kicks off with the dusky lust of DJ Rashad’s “Feelin”, which rubs up weirdly against the late artist’s trappist œuvre. It takes in the woozy Technicolor of Phoenix’s “Love Like A Sunset Part I”, in which twinkly piano and sweetly-plucked acoustic and electric guitars are undermined by growling, grainy synthesizers. It reaches apotheosis on Jamie xx’s “Loud Places”, on which Romy delivers the knockout blow, admitting, “I go to loud places / To search for someone / To be quiet with”, while the arrangement below her swells from torch-song piano to intense, anthemic gospel—the perfect complement to her bathos.
Drink in the golden rays, but reflect on the duality at play. The sunset of Phoenix’s imagining is gorgeous, but it recedes into night. On the dancefloor, Romy finds salvation, but it is fleeting, and she is left burned. And on the closing cut, “Some Children” by Holy Ghost!, that redemptive choral coda peters out at the moment it is “just startin’ to get fun”.
Donna Tartt was correct when she wrote, aping the Ancient Greek attitude:
“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.”