i would call this “audio masochism” but it’s a good album it’s just sad as hell

Sleep Token’s new album, This Place Will Become Your Tomb, came out on 9/24, and I admit, the optimistic horniness of the singles had me worried: I don’t listen to happy music, especially about relationships. (Back when I used to occasionally have sex, I would shuffle through my playlist approximately 350 times before I found anything to reflect my chipper mood during my drive-of-shame back home). As of the past few years, my pussy has more or less become a cursed building in a terrible location with insufficient parking where every business that has opened up there fails within six months, and I had just lost my two favorite hoes… What the hell did I have to be optimistic and horny about? A day where I remember to charge my vibrator before leaving for work? Plus, who does Vessel (this is not a dissertation of the nerdiness of Sleep Token and their fans, so we are just going to glaze over the fact that their frontman, a kind-of-scary-looking-Darth-Maul-ninja-like-dude-with-the-voice-of-an-angel calls himself Vessel) think he is releasing an uplifting album after the two years we’ve had? Did the global pandemic not reach whatever weird fucking cave/coffin/spaceship/church/etc. he dwells in? The band is from the UK, so that separates him from the misery of American politics depending on his personal level of selfish indifference… but I don’t know, man; we’re all stuck on Planet Shit.

(Side note: though I hate to expose myself as one of the five remaining fans of The Walking Dead, “The Reapers” — the “bad guys” of the newest season — look like Sleep Token. They don’t look like mercenary soldiers that have come to kill the detritus of my makeshift family and pilfer all my horse meat; they look like they are about to make my 27-year-old ass cry to a fucking Billie Eilish cover. It’s hard to be scared by them.) 

I let the first single “Alkaline” slide because it was one of the best songs to come out this year. (The chorus? Perfect, and the video concept is tight.) Plus — shockingly enough — me, Rose, who just compared my pussy to that one location in every city that has housed and murdered no less than 500 shitty restaurants, was a little horny at the time of its release… Not optimistically, however, for I usually only care for men who are in difficult situations that render them unable to promise me anything but eventual disappointment (at least… maybe crippling sorrow if I am lucky) because I don’t really want a boyfriend, anyway — just someone to distract me from life’s mundanity that I can write sad stories from the point-of-view of a hot dog about later. 

…Anyway, “Alkaline” is a great song, despite its underlying horniness. The video is cool. Catchy chorus. It can stay.

Half of the reason why I love this band so much is that Vessel seems to love some good unrequited love, too, and yet, the release of “The Love You Want” is when I started to worry. I had just finally ended a complicated FUCKING DECADE LONG affair with someone who never really liked me (though they loved what my mouth do!) and used me as a source for unlimited compliments, career support, unpaid therapy, and as a replacement mother (who gives them blowjobs)… Now, I might just be getting old or have finally had enough of my own bullshit, but sometimes, there isn’t anything fun or pleasurable or rewarding in Still Being Filled With The Love Someone Wants and Reaching For Them On Faith Alone when faith hasn’t done much for any of us, ever, and Their Heart Is Locked Up And You Still Get The Combination Wrong because you always will, you’re a bit stupid, and… THEY DON’T WANT YOUR ASS, VESSEL [ROSE], and yet, you’re out here admitting that you are hopeless and pitiful in a SLOW BALLAD? Ugh… I don’t need any more encouragement to be a dumbass 24/7.

(That paragraph is the closest I’ve gotten to confessing my crimes that would get my Hot Girl Card revoked forever… None of this is Sleep Token’s fault; I am sorry to Sleep Token. I think I am just jealous that he is more in touch with his emotions and vulnerable enough to admit them without writing himself as a hot dog, but the fucker does wear a costume and mask…)

The third single, “Fall For Me,” is a gorgeous tribute to Imogen Heap’s classic acapella song “Hide and Seek.” Unfortunately, it came out after the loss of my second favorite hoe, and I had no time for the poetic begging, the toxic positivity, and the “I am yours in the end, so won’t you fall for me?” crap because what if that actually sounds like a terrifying prospect — a fate worse than death — for the other person? And what makes you so certain that you are theirs in the end? Did your friend read your tarot cards for you? 

That’s when it really set in: Was the rest of this album going to be… happy? Did something finally work out for the strange looking, elusive, masked man? While I would be happy for him and his good fortune, me and “Blood Sport” off Sundowning would unfortunately be off to go fuck ourselves in the sad losers corner. 

Now, I never felt like I needed to be careful of what I wish for because I don’t really wish for much: a day where I walk out to my car and find all four tires still inflated, customers are kind to me, and I don’t have to ration my cigarette intake because I forgot to grab a pack before I got drunk is enough to please me, but…. I was mistaken, friends: This latter half of this album is miserable, it’s almost unnecessary masochism… I don’t think I needed it… I am sorry for thinking I did.

Within the first 30 seconds of the opening track “Atlantic,” I suspected that those singles were only produced because his major label couldn’t have people (me) drinking themselves to death during the 52 minutes of this album. “It’s easier to try not to eat/ so flood me like Atlantic/ bandage up the trenches/ anything to get me to sleep…” Bitch. Pain. 

(Another side-note: upon logging onto Genius for lyrical references, Sleep Token’s bio describes Vessel as “perpetually tormented.” I wanted to laugh, but then I thought “…I mean, shit, same…” so I decided to laugh at myself, instead.)  

“Hypnosis” is very horny — a nice break after “Atlantic”’s four minutes and fifty-three seconds of gloom. It’s the “Sugar” (from Sundowning) of this album. “Mine” gets the same review from me as the last two singles, and again… I got a little worried: Had I been DUPED?! Was I about to be slapped with fucking OPTIMISM?! While “Like That” is also horny tinged with a bit of despair/anger, the following three tracks being “The Love You Want,” “Fall For Me,” and “Alkaline” didn’t bode well…

“Distraction”: Here we go… admitting that he might just be a little fucked… Maybe a lot fucked, considering that this bitch apparently done broke his ass into “fragments”… I’m listening…

“You come crawling back to me/ but I’m already underground/ and we all know that talk is cheap/ so come on and save me now/ and you wonder what I believe/ but you don’t wanna be around/ so what would you do for me?” from “Descending” is a far more poetic, rhythmic, catchy, and soothing version of the rancorous seven-text-long rant I once sent to this boy because he couldn’t be bothered to reply to me complaining about how no one cut slits in the lemons at work because he was busy ghostwriting Machine Gun Kelly’s entire album or some other trivial bullshit that the world really didn’t need. “You can’t recall my name/ ‘til I let you fall/ I’ve been left no choice/ don’t you see that?” 

…You see… I just… The lemons have to have slits… That is how you put them on the iced tea glass… I’m fuckin’ lonely, man. 

“Telomeres” is absolutely beautiful despite dipping its toes back into that wretched toxic positivity that never works out well for “perpetually tormented” idiots like me and Vessel. I could’ve written this after my seven-text-long angry rant actually sufficed in guilt tripping that boy to not only say, “Wow… How lazy of your coworker to have done that… I’m sorry,” and then continued to humor me by replying to my texts for ONE WHOLE DAY, but only one, though, which brings us to “High Water.” I’m fucking mad at “High Water”; if This Place Will Become Your Tomb was a movie, “High Water” would be the scene where the beloved pet dog dies… RUDE AND UNNECESSARILY PAINFUL. 

“For the time being I will still avoid my own questions/ and we both bury that history deep/ but you know I can hold my breath forever” ….OH NO! (This is the second to last track; I had made a hefty enough dent on my bottle of rum to actually gasp “OH NO!” during my first listen.)

“I’ll smile through the agony for you/ and I know you still bear the weight of your own existence/ and you’ll never bear the weight of two…” OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the time being/ I will admit my defeat again/ I will accept that I can’t pretend we will ever be together…OHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Genius even has an appropriately placed [breakdown] after this bit… BREAKDOWN INDEED, BITCH! Here I was, selfishly fearing that things had finally worked out for our Perpetually Tormented And A Little Strange Looking But Humble Narrator so I would never enjoy this album because I would only want to listen to it when I am regularly having sex (which isn’t in the forecast for me) and yet, he also lost his favorite hoe! There’s only one more song after this! The album has, in fact, a VERY UNHAPPY ENDING! And he was able to put how badly that hurts in some sad ass layman terms that are forcing me to grieve instead of making a joke out of how bad finally being rejected after a decade hurts! No part of this song is funny! Vessel’s been a fucking pathetic and expired and greasy and stinky hot dog this entire time, too! I had hoped better for him because he is far more talented than I! 

“Missing Limbs,” the final track, removes the overwhelming sense of impending doom that the powerful vocals/piano bits of “High Water” really hammered in and replaces it with the kind of whimsical resignation that most men have upon grasping an acoustic guitar and belting out some heartbroken shit; the melody almost distracts you from the fact that this song is just as sad, if not worse, than the last one. The lyrics revolve around his wish to be as indifferent and uninterested in the outcome of their relationship as his love interest appears to be: “I’d give anything to borrow your indifference/ I’d drink you in/ to temper your belief in all my promises/ to swallow my desire and choke on it”; “I’d give anything to balance your convictions with certainty/ to fall asleep without you lying next to me/ to sever my connection with anything.” 

It is written almost like an apology for feeling how you feel, and that stinks; I’ve been there… I pretty much have one of those loyalty member cards where if you get 30 stamps, you get a free ice cream on your next visit, but the ice cream is actually just irrevocable damage and decreased motivation to bother coming back again.

Thus concludes my review on the sorrow of Sleep Token’s lyrics on their newest album; not the music itself, for I am only a specialist on whether a riff is nasty and slopped up with extra butter or if a breakdown makes me go WOOOOOOOOOO SHIIIIITTTT!!!!!!!!! and slap my steering wheel and accidentally honk at the car in front of me or if there is an overabundance of panic chords (a positive) or pinch harmonics (automatic five stars!) and my interest in any of those things certainly doesn’t render me qualified to speak on the quality… of anything at all. 

(One of my only genuine goals from writing is to get popular enough to be invited on the Youtube channel for someone who posts music reactions as a guest for one of those “DRINKING SOME BREWS AND REACTING TO BRUTAL FUCKING VICIOUS BREAKDOWNS ON THE COUCH WITH THE HOMIES!!!!!!!” videos… I would be good at that. I really would.) 

Alas, I am well versed in misery, romantic delusions, and unrequited love; how heartbreaking the love affair between Jules and Nadine in the novel Them by Joyce Carol Oates is the only reason why I will continue to defend her to my grave, despite how many times she makes a fool out of herself on Twitter. If this album makes you sad, please read that book, and please buy it secondhand because she can’t stop making an ass out of herself on Twitter. 

ROSE’S RATING: Do Not Recommend If You Just Lost All Your Hoes Unless You Have Decent Coping Skills Or Perhaps Regularly Attend Therapy Sessions, But Otherwise A Nice Album