This morning, I woke up and turned on Michael Collins’ newest album entitled The End of Comedy. Under the new moniker, Drugdealer, he presents a precious, nostalgic record that marks a step away from silliness and a move toward deepening artistic vision. Having performed in DIY bands like Salvia Plath, Run DMT, and Silk Rhodes, Collins has landed on a less “punny” name and through his lyrics and tight, thoughtful arrangements, it appears that something has clicked, rooting him in the present.
“The Real World,” a collaboration with Montreal’s Sheer Agony, comes in after a late-night NYC jazz theme, which otherwise opens the album. A stringy electric guitar riff weaves in and out of steady acoustic rhythms. I felt as if the song was syncing with my mid-afternoon experience. Dust particles floated delicately in rays of natural light, escaping from the ruffled flannel sheets that covered me, as Collins’ vocals came through: “Every day / I wake up and fill my dreaming cup anew / I couldn’t find / What the other will see.” This song is about facing reality after years of hiding from it, escaping to far-off chemical dimensions. Collins’ vocals sound ernest when he sings, “Please don’t ever turn your face / From the real world / It’s such a psychedelic place / The real world,” as if he is reminding himself with a plea that he has recently discovered. Whether or not I took his lyrics too literally, I couldn’t help finding beauty in his statement — reality as psychedelic. The word “psychedelic” is defined in direct relation to drugs and rock music, but what if the benefits from such mental voyages could be found in a state of being utterly present? For everyone creates their own reality. Is this a look inside of Collins’ swaying past, or a moment of clarity that he has decided to cling to? I’m guessing that it is a bit of both. Either way, this track promotes a new side to Collins and for once, he may be dealing doses instead of ingesting them — presenting a drug that allows you to focus on what is in front of you, not what is in your head. And it feels fucking good.
Check out the full album here, including Weyes Blood, Ariel Pink, Danny James, Sheer Agony, and members of the Mac Demarco band: