B L A C K I E: Face the Darkness reviewed by mynameisblueskye
“What is freedom to the average person?”
How ever you answer that question, the one thing you should know is that it probably doesn’t mean the same thing as does to art-punk auteur Michael LaCoeur aka B L A C K I E. To those who have ever listened to B L A C K I E, you will release that his album represents a natural freedom. The freedom to just be the man he was made to be without the world seeking to destroy him or cage him in. Nomadic by nature, nonconformist by choice and perhaps even by nature and unafraid to encourage it for others in his position. The opening lines of “While They Try to Kill Each Other” outlines one of his overall thesis of being B L A C K I E over electric drums better than any of us could ever try.
“Children laugh while they try to kill each other/at least the blood returns to the earth where it belongs, and out of the hands of in power”, bellows Michael in his dry and world-weary town crier scream. With danger everywhere in his wake, it would make sense that he finds silver linings here…if that is what you want to call it. On “There Is No Light”, he reports the history of laid waste in front of and committed towards the people. “There was no food, there were fists/there were no light, there were fists” all to come back to the devastating line. “We use to eat each other!” Entrails wrapped in crimson blood line the periphery of wherever B L A C K I E looks, even amongst those who towards those who call themselves allies and heroes. His second overall thesis “I am not you’r nigger!” is delivered in an angry tone only punctuated by a deep sense of pain and sorrow.
B L A C K I E’s mind may be a mass of continuously spinning wheels, but he will be damned if it ever spins for you. Even as he tackles topics such as suffering from a crippling addiction (“How to Let It Control You”), toxic “patriotism” (“Wave Your Flag”) and fascism/fake empathy (“Uncounted”), Michael knows that even HE is not above occupying the hot seat. Painting a picture of anxiety through a descriptive lens, “Meet the Demons” is claustrophobic in its description of not being able to think and feel freely.
Not being able to just be without judgment. So, after all of this, hearing him emerge free and ready to escape on “It Can’t Define Me” feels not only heartening, but like an anthem written to those looking for their own escape. B L A C K I E’s Face the Darkness may start off as B L A C K I E in the slaughter line witnessing victims meeting their end in HD and plotting his escape from such slaughter, but it sees to it that he isn’t his own cause of danger to himself. In the midst of this, B L A C K I E emerges with one last message (clue, rather) that overall defines not only the entire album, but the world and the philosophy of B L A C K I E: “Look around/Don’t look down”.
Mynameisblueskye is a singer, songwriter, poet, and occasional blogger. An American-born Renaissance man who loves music so much, he has too many videos in his Watch Look after list. His bandcamp can be found here: