Bury My Heart on Bullshit Mountain, or an Album Review: yeah fine ok by Superdestroyer 

In the year of our AI overlords two-thousand-and-twenty-four, the joke — my dear internet denizen — is always on you, the audience. The neoliberal patriarchal white nationalist christian anti-rest conglomerate of world controllers failed to break us with their fake plague, and now they’re just determined to override our humor circuits past any reasonable pre-9/11 margin.

Just flip through any social media feed and you’ll find… a Barbie movie that ends up being arguably the most subversive and thoughtful satire since Dr. Strangelove! Nominated for Oscars (but for all the wrong reasons)! 

And just when you think you’ve figured out the latest eye-roll-inducing gag from the depths of a positively unruly trickster universe as a YouTube algorithm-rigging Bob Dylan of new fascism, he turns out to be just another transplanted DSA card carrier who just happened to be born in a former slave state. By the way, Bob Dylan now posts Instagram stories about hanging out with Hal Blaine. Perhaps you’ve heard?

Then there’s Taylor and Travis.

That’s it, that’s the whole sentence.

But seriously, those two could well have broken up immediately after the Supe rBowl – or he could have actually proposed after the Chiefs lost by 20 points. Either outcome would have surprised exactly no one and would only exist to give the Chinese Communist Party invaluable metadata on the teenage Western psyche through their chosen mind control app.

That they’re still together and the pre-game status quo of reality remains is as not-surprising a place to find oneself in our Multiverse of Unhinged Cringe as any. Then comes the desp– I mean *checks stages of grief* acceptance, yeah: acceptance. 

“No matter what we do, there’s no escape. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Or some more fatalistic Instagram variation of that Ursula LeGuin quote about capitalism. Point is, you’ve heard it all before, or in overused phrases-turned-Thundercat album titles: “It is what it is.” 

With that backdrop, there’s something super serious about Superdestroyer that simultaneously couldn’t be better prepared for our climate of a false flag — or at least delayed(?) — apocalypse. There’s also something about how his lack of commitment to any kind of songwriting formalism stands unnervingly a “step too far” in the limits of any reasonably patient social media doom scroller trying out any single song in the unhinged ether.

If you’ve been surfing his many singles through the #freealbumcodes hashtag on Xitter (in speaking of a joke on the audience that never ends), his halfway bops and unhinged jingles seem like an algo-triggered crank call on anyone who grew up idolizing Jesse Lacey while dancing to “Sandstorm” at prom. They almost always give up before actually committing to a second chorus. Or, god forbid, a fuckin’ bridge. So how does he end up one of the deep internet’s most engaging songwriters and discographies?

Last year’s release from the Lonely Ghost Records firebrand — a 17 minute long epic (yes, epic) called SoakedInSynth.Zipwears Superdestroyer’s one-of-a-kind success strategy on its sleeve: Come for the detached ennui and pointlessness of it all. Stay and you may very well find deep AOR tricks and winks as savvy as any Stephen Malkmus slight in a self-aware-turned-absorbed screenplay about what dolls can tell us about being human.

His latest release, this year’s yeah fine ok, ups the ante with a laundry list of mid-aughts middle school pop production faux pas. *Stefon voice* The opening track, “∆ In Infinite Space The Configurations Of Our Particles Repeat“, proves Superdestroyer’s DAW has everything. We’ve got autotune (just in time for T-Pain to prove to social media he always could sing)! We’ve got pitch-shifting. We’ve got drums that sound like they’re a drum pad but are just actually compressed harder than a penny on a train track. Is that .. paulstretch? And a god-tier terrible impersonation … of an already terrible Tom DeLonge impersonation. 

You get the impression that, in the creative process, Superdestroyer has to be as happy as a pig in shit assembling this stuff. Or at least as happy as Andy Kaufman preparing to body slam a middle aged mother of three on early 80s late night television. 

The picture these choices add up to is a sort of Rip Van Winkle experience for an elder millennial listener: 20 years ago, not one ingredient in the recipe would ever have been forgivable, let alone blog-able. Even by Myspace standards. To the uninitiated listener, I assume the experience is like walking into a Spring Breakers showing without having ever heard of Harmony Korrine. 

Meanwhile in a 2024 SoundCloud (!) preview link to the ears of those who have been following Lonely Ghost for some time now, it all makes for a deft if daft essay on the longevity of so called ‘objective’ critical pet peeves of a Pitchfork-dominated music discourse long gone. If the title of Pet Sounds referred to Brian Wilson’s treasured production choices and arrangement techniques based on a pallet of refined teenage yearning and introspection painstakingly developed alongside the Beach Boys’ discography to that point, then yeah fine ok might just as soon be titled Pest Sounds. 

My rendering of the sonic palette here may sound deeply critical, perhaps even insulting, to said unknowing listener but it’s a testament to the comprehensiveness and commitment of the veneer. More succinctly, Superdestroyer makes James Murphy sound like Bruce Springsteen, at least on a surface listening. Yet beneath that crust is where Superdestroyer’s music gets very interesting and why yeah fine ok — in tandem with the groundswell of attention he’s gained around SoakedInSynth.zip — is a major breakthrough for his project.

The two “p l a s t i c c o f f i n s” variations set the goal posts for the album’s sense of genre bending and make a fantastic exhibit for any meaning “adjacentwave” ever had; in that, the spirit of the music is vaporwave (decades-based culture as pastiche, muzak as a medium for meta commentary sans lyrics) but almost none of the instrumentation has a waking thing to do with George Clanton.

Clanton himself will probably appreciate being in on the humor. He would certainly appreciate Superdestroyer’s choices of guest spots, all of whom show up with a converse yet matching sincerity. They blend into each scene with the aplomb of the human main character in a Muppet movie, not to mention the same barely veiled excitement at getting the gig. It’s no wonder – collabs may be the crotch crabs of just about any decent musician’s social media DMs, but to have a walk on part in High School Musical: The Trap Emo Rock Opera? Now that’s not a 16 bar offer a rapper gets in our post-DatPiff landscape.

The lyrics sheet here also yields some truly delectable genre critique-gags in the form of equally pedestrian easter eggs. For all of the emo tropes – hetero-normative desperation closeting late 90s homophobia and requisite piss poor male relationships – there are also much more basic riffs.

There are two songs that come close to being “traditional pop songs” in structure and execution. “I’m Sorry I Ruined Your Birthday” is the clear bop and if you’re going to give anyone a single track for the album or discography, look no further. In “Vic Vinegar” a choral round of “yeah”s (that could just as easily be “you”s) spin around like a boy band writing session gone awry, all over a pitch-perfect imitation of late 90s Northwest small-i indie power trio production. The instrumental track alone could be a Lonesome Crowded West outtake jam. 

At the peak of, say, Built to Spill’s appeal, you would have been hard pressed to find any crossover audience with, say, N*Sync or Backstreet Boys. But if you put them both on the same Spotify playlist today, that just means you voted for Biden. It’s that particular moment of shared exhaust, matched by a reassuring thesis that no petty battle of any culture war seems to ever last, that yeah fine ok seems primed to exploit. 

Yet even when Pink Navel delivers a soliloquy at the end of “▣ Outer Space Disco Lemonade (Pink Navel Version)” so confessional it would make Rudy Francisco blush, Superdestroyer proves with yeah fine ok that there can be a narrative experience like Gerwig’s Barbie that needs no big, climactic expositional reveal for its subversive charm. 

Put another way, Yeah fine ok doesn’t need the America Ferrera screed to sell its Billie Eillish ballads just like George Lucas never needed Yoda to look into the camera to tell you love leads to the dark side of the force in mangled grammar. Superdestroyer relishes communicating deeply to folks who just need the light saber fights. In the case of yeah fine ok, that means a descent into instrumental compositions and strategically brief vibes that I can only liken to the sequence of Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers you could find on BitTorrents in the late-aughts that stuck all the cough medicine jams at the end. 

That resounding and irreverent faith in the collective listener’s sense of bludgeon-force subtlety in the big picture is the starstuff of online cults and life-changing discographies. Superdestroyer’s latest music can claim as firm and flagship a use case as any for his truly unique approach. Or whatever.

Written by Matthew DeMello-Nordmark

You can follow the artist: