As a loosely (or arrogantly) classified child of the 90s (born in 1996), I feel a borrowed nostalgia for the music, film and velour from the decades bookending the new millennium. I was too young to genuinely be engaging in The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill or synchronised head-to-toe denim but these cultural moments populated the background of my childhood. Sentimentalism by proxy. So when Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde” played via one of those Spotify shuffle kismets, I was catapulted into a low-rise gossamer net.
The 1999 single features alluring vocals from Pam Bricker and has an acutely cinematic consistency. I.e. a fitting soundtrack to an elegant bank heist montage; iconic of a turn-of-the-century film. Or the diegetic music spilling out of our protagonist’s radio, as they drive at a mysterious hour; slightly tinted sunglasses, sardonic silk shirt & cigarette smoke plumes a gogo.
“Too low to find my way
Too high to wonder why”
The neat tug between ‘low’ and ‘high’ pulls gently at life and its many contradictions. Spinning palatable nihilism coolly through the lyrics.
The song lets the listener float above and around the melody; toying with consciousness, ‘somewhere in another time’ and fantasy, ‘the clouds drifting through the blinds’. As you sink further into the track’s leathery cushion of despondency, ‘I feel your smoky mist’, you can almost feel the briny punch of a dirty gin martini at the back of your throat.
As part of The Mirror Conspiracy album, Lebanese Blonde feels like a vestige of the ‘lounge-y’ surrealism that seeped into the 00s from the late 90s. I’m currently awaiting a renaissance of this arbitrarily named genre.
Mike thrusts imperfections and background noises into the spotlight during the recording process, utilising omnidirectional microphones that capture the sounds and textures of an environment in its entirety. This at times busy ear space gives a nostalgic ambience to the track, like discovering a song in the bustling warmth of a café or crowded bar for the first time.
Dressed stylishly in a patterned blue bandana, long-sleeve white tee and furry boots the artist flows lyrically on situation-ships with women, stupid financial decisions and the pitfalls of getting famous far too young. The clip is crisp, clean and super simple.