Let me pre-face this with I am not a musical connoisseur. I have never studied music, I played the drums for a few years but I was shit. I probably shouldn’t be reviewing an album, but I am. Because I don’t see Blame Miss Barclay as an album, I see it more as a piece of art which is presented in musical form. So let’s begin with a music review written by a man with no musical intelligence.
Blame Miss Barclay is an album released in 2013 by Mikill Pane. It was the first major album from the London based rapper although he has released EPs and singles beforehand. The album is made up of nineteen songs (in the deluxe-edition, which I recommend over the non deluxe-edition) which are centred around multiple characters including Mikill himself. Some are good, some are bad but all incredibly well written.
If you believe that rap is all about bragging about money or women then listen to this album and Mikill Pane’s work, it will show you it can be about creating stories, although his song Straight To The Bottom is all about arses… But aside from that most are stories featuring fictional characters Lucky: a fortunate drug dealer, Pam McCarthy: a dysfunctional teenager, Adrian her A student boyfriend, and finally an elderly couple taking a life-altering trip. Mikill Pane interacts with some of these characters in some songs which are written from his perspective as well.
Pane manages to balance the serious with the relaxed. Chairman Of The Bored is all about Mikill being bored at home because he took too long in the shower and his mates went to the beach without him, whereas Fade Away is a sober look at the inside of Aiden’s dysfunctional relationship with the drink and drug abusing Pam McCarthy. Both songs are entertaining in different ways. Chairman Of The Bored is lighthearted and full of fun wordplay, on the other hand Fade Away is a beautifully written story about a man stuck between a rock and hard place wondering if he should leave a girl who has lost all control.
Pane is not afraid to put a light onto sensitive topics such as racism and even abortion, but each subject is treated with consideration and doesn’t trivialise the issue. If you want to see how dark Mikill Pane gets, listen to Little Lady which is his collaboration with Ed Sheehan around the song The A Team. He is also incredibly good at the twist ending. He’ll take a song a certain direction for two verses and in the final verse will flip the whole thing on it’s head.
The reason I love Blame Miss Barclay is because I’m a writer, and I know that many of you who read this are also writers, so give it a listen. Pane has written beautifully written stories within his own art form of rap. If you do take a listen to the album listen to it all. Listen to it multiple times and notice the nods to other songs hidden away in the lyrics.