‘Camp’ celebrates excess. Indulgence is at the forefront. As Susan Sontag said in her essay on the subject, “the essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” On Monday, the Met Gala put ‘Camp’ centerstage, as A-listers did their best to exude the event’s theme. On ‘Miami Memory’, Alex Cameron fully luxuriates in the abundance of physical and sensual expression.
The Sydney, Australia-born singer-songwriter adopted the personality of the failed entertainer on his 2013 debut album, Jumping the Shark. Since then, success has followed. He caught the eye of Foxygen while performing at David Lynch’s Paris club, Silencio, toured with a variety of the indie scene’s best known names, and in 2017 found himself co-writing five tracks for The Killer’s Wonderful Wonderful as well as dropping his second LP, Forced Witness.
Cameron once said, “I write about the outlier, the table-for-one guy, the guy whose life is a constellation of microscopic tragedies. Failure has been underexplored in music. My characters come from a place where ambition, crippling self-doubt and tragedy intersect.” Things, however, have obviously changed dramatically since then. He now dates Jemima Kirke of Girls fame, who stars alongside him in the video for ‘Miami Memory’ as well as in a number of his other clips.
The failed entertainer is a character that has been successively adopted in the past. Not long ago, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy would take the stage in a white suit. Scruffy, unshaven, and looking like he’d fully indulged in the open bar, he’d come on in a howl and convert the uninitiated.
Cameron comes from a similar school. He fully embraces whatever persona he decides to inhabit. This is evident from the start of ‘Miami Memory’. He sings, “Holding your hand at the strip club, holding your hand at the beach, holding your hand just to make sure you’re never too far out of reach.” In the accompanying video, he sings this donning a light blue suit with a red and white shirt, while flipping his lapels and standing in a half squat synonymous with the sensuality of a 70s lounge singer.
There is evidence of true attention to craft in this first line. A touch of the risque paired with romance. Throughout, Cameron ups the ante and the excess, “Making love in your momma’s bed” grows to “Eating your ass like an oyster/ The way you came like a tsunami.” The images are vivid, stacked with sentimental memories and over-the-top sensual metaphor. It fits perfectly with the loungy character Cameron has created, which in turn makes the writing better, more in line with what is intended to be expressed.
“‘Miami Memory’ is a story about how we audition in the present for our future selves to enjoy in retrospect. In that way, tender memories that we share together are captured in thought and stored with the same electricity that keeps our heart beating,” says Cameron in the press release. “It’s a gift for my girlfriend Jemima, and it is dedicated to the artist Greer Lankton and her partner Paul Monroe. I am lucky to have learned that a group of people can be a shining light.”
Alex Cameron naturally inhabits a vivid persona on ‘Miami Memory’. It is full of excess and indulgence, but it also shows an artist who has stepped passed “crippling self-doubt” and embraced the “outlier.” He has done this through a love song, one that is about a city and Jemima Kirke, but is as much about himself.
HURRY – BUY – ALEX CAMERON MUSIC