11. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos

“It’s 4.18 am…”

It’s 4.18 am. London. It’s raining and cold and dark. Despite the hour, seven residents of the street are awake. Some of them because they are just coming home from a night of partying, a night of “two for one drinks”. Some lie awake reflecting on how their life has been shaped by those days when they had “ketamine for breakfast”. Some lie awake riven by anxiety. Some are up and about because they are in the throes of escaping. They all wonder how they got here and how they can get out.

Let Them Eat Chaos is an extraordinary concept album. Poets reading their work over a musical backdrop isn’t new. But there’s something that feels totally unique here. Tempest spits out her short stories, rapping with absolute authenticity over an electronic/hip-hop/trip-hop beat. The stories are all intertwined.

This is reality. On Let Them Eat Chaos, Tempest provides us with an astonishing commentary on modern-day England. There aren’t even squats anymore, thanks to gentrification. It’s all about the have’s. The have-not’s are being obliterated, one way or another. It’s more than three years old now at the time of writing, but this could’ve been composed as a mirror to Boris Johnson’s Britain.

In many ways, this album reminds me of Burial’s Untrue. It’s an album for the middle of the night, to be listened to in darkness and in solitude, looking out at the rain falling. It’s apocalyptic and, in some ways, a little disturbing. But it’s a must-listen and is unquestionably one of the albums of the decade.

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