Whether it be a struggling lounge-lizard, a kind of provocateur incel, or the benefits of stigmatized excess, Alex Cameron has found a way on each of his albums to satirize just about everyone on the fringe of society. In that sense, Oxy Music follows along the same lines, this time tracing one of those men towards an inevitable drug-induced depression and disillusionment with society. While his newest personas have become less shock-inducing and more alt-Brandon-Flowers fare, Cameron has never lost his edge, instead, he pushes, each track to be more inescapably catchy than it appears.
That’s the important thing about Cameron’s subversion, while his thorny subjects and language are always muted by his tongue-in-cheek charisma, it’s his arrangements that really sell him as a star. Cameron exudes the confidence of a stadium-ready Flowers, instead relegated to a mid-festival set with all the vitriol of someone who knows his songs are better. That presents a self-fulfilling cycle where the questionable lyrics are made more satirical by their placement among these dated instrumentals which in turn are elevated by the genuinely funny and evocative turns of phrase. That’s how Cameron can get away with writing tracks for The Killers and seems to play bigger and bigger venues every time he tours. He knows that most of the time people aren’t listening to the lyrics and for those who are, they’ll only appreciate the songs more because of them.
Cameron might seem like an outlier now, but if he can retain his biting wit as his tracks become more palatable, he could easily become a weird new-era pop star. After all, who would have thought Randy Newman would score a Number 2 single and write his Pixar songs after releasing “Rednecks”? Even then, “Marlon Brando” and “K Hole” are certainly catchier. Oxy Music is not, however, any kind of masterpiece, but it is another surprisingly consistent concept album, one just as slick and depraved as Forced Witness was, even without the extra schtick.