Album Review: Alex Cameron – Miami Memory

Friday, September 13, 2019

Alex Cameron’s notability as an extraordinary storyteller is undeniable. Through his previous offerings, he’s told stories about some of the world’s most unnerving characters and the inner workings of their psyches — with listeners pulled deep inside the minds of Cameron’s protagonists and the questionable lives that they live. Though Forced Witness was a great album and a solid release by Cameron, Miami Memory presents a more personal and intimate reflection of not only his own life but also the powerful women that inspire him — particularly his partner Jemima Kirke.

Though the album is out in the world for public consumption, it’s ultimately a record for Kirke and the ways she and their relationship inspires Cameron as both an artist and more importantly a human navigating life.

Songs like the album’s title-track are incredibly intimate — and though as a listener, the track’s amorous lyrical content makes you feel like you’re peeking through the windows from outside a motel, it’s what makes Cameron’s songwriting so special — his concern isn’t if a certain lyric makes you blush or feel uneasy, he’s on a mission to capture emotions in their purest and unfiltered form.

There’s also ‘Other Ladies’, which is a tender track about having eyes for no-one else but Kirke. The lively number features expressive words like, “If it’s plain to see / What you have done to me / Then baby / I don’t understand what we’re waiting for.” The album’s opener ‘Stepdad’ is about being in the lives of Kirke’s children. Along with featuring words about spending time with her children, the track is an intricate exploration of the changing dynamic of families — including when the new addition to the family has an unconventional job like Cameron's.

Relationships come with insecurities, and Cameron expresses this candidly on the album’s closer ‘Too Far’, which features a moving spoken word passage for Kirke — with his words overflowing with admiration for Kirke and the ways she inspires him. His words and candidness of the passage encapsulates the openness of the record. He’s more than the outlandish performer mainstream media often portray him as — he’s a person before he’s an artist and his words reaffirm this.

On Miami Memory, Cameron wanted to focus his attention on powerful women instead of using his words to dive into the stories of men. Through an interrogative lens, ‘Bad For The Boys’ discusses men who have done bad things and the ways they attempt to disregard the harm they have caused women through acts of redemption and seeking sympathy. ‘Far From Born Again’ is an ode to sex workers and sex-positivity — though men try to act as if their money places them in a position of power, it’s the women who are in control. He sings, “You have to call her stupid just to comprehend what she does,” and, “She buys her own damn meals / You sit at home and masturbate while she plays grown-ups for real.”

Cameron doesn’t care if his songs or intimate words aren’t for you, ultimately they’re not for us. Miami Memory has been tenderly crafted from a place of respect, admiration and love for someone who fuels his fire to create — and as bystanders, all we can do is remain in awe of Cameron’s words and feel grateful that he has invited us inside.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase Miami Memory by Alex Cameron via Bandcamp here.

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