Think you're giving but you're taking my life away...
IAMX is a British indie/alternative
act consisting of Chris Corner, the band
and occasionally his ex-partner, Sue Denim, of Robots In Disguise fame. IAMX began after Sneaker Pimps
' fourth album was shelved and Chris decided to work on his own music instead of focusing on fixing the album. 2004 saw the release of IAMX's debut album, Kiss + Swallow
, which, with the help of Sue, dealt with topics such as sex, destructive relationships, sex, lies, sex , the destructive and ultimately collapsing nature of modern society, and for good measure, sex. Kiss + Swallow
was followed in 2006 by The Alternative
, a Darker and Edgier
album that delved into surrealist imagery, political dissertations, mental instability, and unstable relationships. After The Alternative
came Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
, wherein Chris discusses modern society, incest, the doomed nature of the modern world, alcoholism and other fun topics. The album also had the help of "My Secret Friend", a collaborative effort between Chris and Imogen Heap
. While the song itself was amazing, the video, which featured some rather attractive feats of cross dressing, was acclaimed by nearly all who saw it, and was promptly ignored by everyone else. IAMX's latest album, Volatile Times
, dealt with many of themes previously mentioned (mainly political instability and dysfunctional relationships) and added new topics like probable insanity, atheism and bigotry to the mix.
Part of the sheer appeal of IAMX comes from the amazing diversity of the music involved in the songs, especially when combined with Chris' voice. His refusal to pull punches in his lyrics, sheer conviction, and the constant exploration of topics that many bands won't touch are all part of the amazing fucked-up-ness that is IAMX.
IAMX have been slowly growing in popularity, thanks to both the geographically-wide touring and large number of collaborative efforts. While their popularity lies mainly in Germany, they are loved worldwide and will undoubtedly remain so for a long time.
See also Sneaker Pimps
- Kiss + Swallow (2004)
- The Alternative (2006)
- Live In Warsaw (Live album, 2008)
- Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction (2009)
- Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK (Remix album, 2010)
- Volatile Times (2011)
- The Unified Field (2013)
Tropes associated with IAMX include:
- The Ace: Chris is largely self-taught and used to study astrophysics. And boy, can he play piano.
- Anti-Love Song: "Missile" is about a destructive relationship and the real damage it can do.
- "Nature Of Inviting", "Your Joy Is My Low", "You Stick It In Me", "Spit It Out", possibly "S.H.E."...
- Bishōnen: In the video for "My Secret Friend", Chris is dressed as a girl and Imogen is dressed as a man. And he makes a really pretty girl.
- Blatant Lies: In the third video journal, Chris was asked if he'd yet stepped into the studio. He replied that they'd started last week. Cue shots of a ping-pong match.
- Brother-Sister Incest: "My Secret Friend", according to Word of God.
- Call Back/ Expy: "White Suburb Impressionism" bears more than a few similarities to the Sneaker Pimps song "Grazes" (the distortion, the pseudo-philosophical lyrics).
- The Cameo: Chris appeared alongside Noel Fielding in the Robots In Disguise video for "Girl".
- Concept Video: The first music video of "Missile." Chris is slowly being drowned in a bathtub; messages pasted onto the tape binding him alternate between saying 'Love me', 'Hate me' and 'Help me'.
- The videos for "My Secret Friend", "Ghosts Of Utopia", "Volatile Times" and "Bernadette" undoubtedly have a concept. It's just that it's kind of hard to tell what the hell they are.
- The video for "Come Home" is a love letter to Los Angeles- Chris spent some time there and fell in love with the city.
- Dream Team: Chris teamed up with The Strike Boys to make the rather exceptional song "Chemical Princess" and with Moonbootica to make the rather strange song "Pretty Little Angel".
- Aesthetic Perfection's remix of "Kingdom of Welcome Addiction" is haunting.
- Fanservice: The second video for "Missile".
- Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind
- Fun with Acronyms: 'S.H.E', which stands for 'Secret Harmonic Emotion'.
- God Is Evil: "I Salute You Christopher" has Chris describing God as 'a tyrant and a lonely psychopath/dreamed up to steal your minds'.
- Ill Boy: Chris was recently diagnosed with severe insomnia.
- Intercourse with You: 'Sailor', 'Kiss + Swallow', 'You Stick It In Me', 'The Alternative', "Skin Vision"...
- Jitter Cam: The video for 'Bernadette' is an intentional artificial example, wherein the camera is constantly mechanically shaken from side to side.
- The Lancer: Janine Gezang, a friend of Chris who performs live with the band.
- Lyrical Dissonance: 'Heatwave', a peppy song about a guy who's struck down by heatstroke and ends up hallucinating a beautiful blonde woman. Who is kind of a bitch.
- "Missile" is quite a peppy little song, detailing a very destructive relationship.
- "My Secret Friend" is about a case of Brother-Sister Incest ending in a suicide pact so they can be together forever.
- "Simple Girl", "Rain to Sea" and "Lulled By Numbers" are three of the rare 'dark music, bright lyrics' subtype.
- "You Stick It In Me" is darker than might be expected. And not as sexual.
- "Your Joy Is My Low" is a hell of a lot more catchy than can be expected from a title like that.
- For other cases, try "Tear Garden", "Song of Imaginary Beings" and "Into Asylum".
- Mr. Fanservice: Chris is ridiculously pretty.
- Non-Indicative Name: "Think of England" has absolutely nothing to do with the saying.
- Obligatory Bondage Video: "Missile". It's Zig-Zagged in that the video plays it straight, the song isn't an example in itself.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: The video for "President" tends to be ignored in favour of "My Secret Friend" and "Missile".
- The Quiet One: Chris is this, surprisingly so.
- Room Full of Crazy: "Ghosts of Utopia"
- Serial Escalation: The ending of "Music People" has the beat speeding up, slowly but surely, until it starts going faster than you think it could go.
- Single Stanza Song: "Nightlife", "Into Asylum"
- Stalking Is Love: Subverted with the second (there were two versions, a low budget and a high budget) music video for 'Missile' (but not the actual song, which is about a destructive relationship). An attractive blonde woman (his ex-partner, Sue Denim) engages Chris in what might best be called softcore BDSM, however in the last frame she forces him to take some kind of pill, and we realise this was her intention all along.
- Not to mention, the look Chris gives the camera in the beginning strongly implies that he wasn't there by choice.
- Surreal Music Video: 'Spit It Out': Chris dances. Then he lies down. Then he dances again. Then he shakes his girlfriend. Then he runs across the room. Then he kisses her. Etc, etc.
- The video for 'My Secret Friend'. The scenery is fucked up.
- The video for "Ghosts Of Utopia" too.
- And "Bernadette".
- Take That: Chris often mocks the kind of people who hate his music, including religious conservatives: Your supermarket Jesus comes with smiles and lies/Where justice he delays is always justice he denies.
- He called God 'a tyrant and a lonely psychopath/dreamed up to steal your minds' in "I Salute You Christopher".
- Thousand-Yard Stare: He's pretty much the poster child for this trope. In just about every music video, he'll stare at the camera and manage to look like he just walked out of Hell, no matter what the setting is.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: Chris does this in a few of his songs.
- The Unreveal: Chris was asked in a video journal what the name of the fifth album was. He replied that there were a few options, one of which was... and then seemingly forgot it. And then he asked what the question was again.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Chris has a rather bad tendency to not make any sense in his lyrics.