Written by Barlovv
Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop – We Live As Ghosts
> Connecticut, US
> Released February 3
Class traitors on a power trip
Fascists laughing as they empty out a clip
Never trust a fucking pig
If you’re unfamiliar with the angel of Connecticut, Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop, then it’s probably time to get fucking acquainted, because We Live as Ghosts is maybe the gnarliest piece of leftist agitprop that I have ever fucking heard, and it is going to take a lot to get me to pull this beauty off my list of best albums of 2023. It’s only god damn February gang, how are we already so good?
19 songs and 16 minutes of absolute carnage. Honestly, there’s very little for me to say about this album that it’s not going to instantly say for itself. That quote at the beginning of this review is from the first song on the album and you’re really not going to find a more pure distillation of what specifically is on Chop’s mind. As police violence only seems to be on the rise, despite our seeming willingness to talk about it and protest it, the only response that makes sense is screaming for 16 minutes, so this whole album really does serve as a metaphor for the way it feels to look at the news in 2023. Because the world can’t just fucking chill for five seconds.
The shortest song on the album, “Flying in Circles”, runs about 14 seconds and manages to perfectly distill the current state of the US government (and, if we’re being honest, the rest of our governments). The lyrics couldn’t be clearer or simpler: “Politicians / Fucking cowards / Fucking liars / Fascist puppets / Two right wings and we still wonder why we fly in circles”. Amazing what you can say with 14 seconds.
Getting into the musicality of the album for a second, in the credits Chop says “no real instruments were used in these recordings”, and honestly, were it not for that message I’d never know. The tumult and the noise and the absolute grinding chaos of this album works so fucking well from start to finish, nothing about it feels looped or artificial. There is a real sense of expertise here, with some punishingly intense (apparently programmed) drums, and a wild variety of samples and noise throughout, it really works and I can’t really say enough about how much I love this record.
It’s hard to overstate how much music like this is needed right now, and it is needed in a big way. I know there is, perhaps, a desire to hide from the fact that we are well and truly fucked, to find ways to ignore that fact and take a bit of a break from what is – truly – a relentless march of shit that we seem to just have to sit and fucking watch. We need albums like We Live as Ghosts to remind us that going number or putting our head in the sand is not a fucking option, and it’s absolutely appropriate to get good and fucking pissed off.
“Divided. Conquered.” really touches on what I’m saying here, too, at least I think. The lyrics are pretty straight forward:
We have fallen for their distraction
Everyone is scrambling for crumbs
We’re fighting off our neighbors in a bid to survive
They keep us focused on each other
Maintain control with manufactured divide
Don’t fall for it
This feels like a genuinely callout to parts of the left, in particular the online left, where there is so much time policing each other that forces who mean harm to the people we’re supposed to ally with are able to just fucking do harm. Part of it is, likely, that its easier to deal with something small than to acknowledge how big the problem actually is, but this works to their fucking advantage, and as a result – we are fucking helping them.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Like I said at the beginning of this review, if you’re not acquainted with this particular grinding monster, now is the fucking time to get acquainted. There’s enough righteous fury and absolutely gnarly music in this record that you really can’t go wrong. The thing takes up 16 minutes of your time, and you’re going to want to listen to it again and fucking again. It rips hard, and you’re going to be hard-pressed to find anything this filthy this year. Goddamn.