AOTY 2021

AOTY Icon Interview: CLJesse


This is the third edition of my AOTY Icon Interview series where I crowdsource questions from AOTY users for iconic AOTY critics. For the third edition of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlise from CLJesse to work with me. I have many more critics scheduled for the upcoming months. Anyone can reach out to me via Discord if they're interested in being interviewed. The critic being interviewed for the March 2021 Edition is to be announced early next month! Thank you for checking this out, don't forget to interact if you are enjoying this series. Once again, thank you <3

Charlise's Biography: My name is Charlise, and I’m a 16-year old (nearly 17) that uses AOTY as an outlet for my musical opinions since most of my IRL friends aren’t particularly interested in hearing them. My account is a little all over the place, but I think it reflects me as a person incredibly well and I’m ultimately proud that I can make people laugh and sell them on records I personally love (basically I’m saying I’m insane but I try to be the fun type of crazy). If I had to narrow down my favorite genres, I would say they are: post-hardcore, metalcore (not melodic metalcore, just metalcore), noise rock, alternative metal, post-punk, and new wave.

CLJesse Page:

Ryan Benis - Rollercoaster
Pipe: Do you have a based boyfriend?

Charlise: I will once he gives The Glow Pt.2 and Miss Anthropocene a better score.
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf
Schmoobin: What motivates you to always switch things up in your reviews?

Charlise: I kind of try to make my account mirror my actual personality. I’m a very spontaneous, goofy person and I have a tendency to hop from idea to idea pretty quickly. That’s why when you scroll through my account, you’ll see anything from a heartfelt deep dive into one of my 10s that I spent 3 months writing or a 3-word shitpost.
clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned
Cry: If you could choose two artists to come together for a collaboration project who haven't ever worked together before, who would it be, and why?

Charlise: I’m not super sure why, but I’ve always felt like a Clipping and Injury Reserve collab would be amazing. The production style that both of those projects have to seem like they’d gel together into a fantastic project.
Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
DoubleZ: If you were to find yourself on a desert island, a paradise where the weather is always beautiful, what unique album would you take in your suitcase?

Charlise: Whenever I listen to Saturday Night Wrist by Deftones, I always envision myself on a beach with water splashing in between my toes while I run across the coastline. Experiencing that, in reality, sounds heavenly.
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis
GersonAOTY: What characteristics do you think it's more important to judge on an album?

Charlise: To me—the most important aspect of an album is the actual compositions of the instrumentals—the actual *sound* of a record. Even with production that is a little rough, I find that if the core song is good enough that I can still be compelled by it (that isn’t to say that production and vocals can’t hinder a listening experience, but that’s not what I place the most emphasis on). I’d consider lyrical content to be the thing that I tend to flat-out ignore except on albums that I already love. I never let them lower my score—only improve my preexisting enjoyment.
Gospel - The Moon Is a Dead World
Thewayiam: What is your favorite album cover and why?

Charlise: Gospel’s singular album hands down has my favorite cover. Not only are the color choices and actual artistry of it gorgeous, but it does an immaculate job of mirroring the densely emotional music. The actual compositions on the record are extremely busy—thus the cover is as well. Also purple is one of my favorite colors, so that might be part of it lmao.
Elitimesfour - AUTOMATON
Phillip: What's your favorite thing about AOTY and have things improved or gotten worse since you joined the website?

Charlise: I absolutely adore the community this website has. Even if it has a tendency to brew drama, I’ve always liked the more tight-knit, warm feel AOTY processes when compared to RYM (which has a fucking dogshit community LMFAO). Honestly, my life has improved since I found this place because 1, it has provided me with a creative outlet that has been vital for me to have (highschool is draining my life energy) 2, I’ve gotten into WAY more music than I would have without it, and 3, I’ve met so many wonderful friends (and a very gross/not based boyfriend) on here.
My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys
GeMann: Has anything music-related made you angry?

Charlise: I’m just going to come out and say it: I have anger issues. That and my bipolar makes me more than a little prone to getting overly heated about shit; music causes me to get more than a tad pissed off at points. One time that particularly stands out to me is when I was in a Fraction Gay listening party for Danger Days by My Chemical Romance. I had already been having a pretty bad day, but having to relisten to a record *this* fucking irritating and overproduced literally caused me to mute myself, get up, then go into the other room and listen to other music. C.L. Jesse was very mad online.
Brand New - Science Fiction
Scre4meh: What does CL mean?

Charlise: Whelp, this is kind of a long one. Basically, in late 2017, @LuckLoose had gotten into Science Fiction by Brand New and started shilling it. I had enjoyed the album, but it wasn’t until a little after my 14th birthday in 2018 where I started getting really obsessed with the band. Luck used to have this thing where if I really loved something, he had to get pissy and stop/not listen to it. In order to make him more irritated, I changed my Discord name to Jesse Lacey (the lead singer’s name) for a day. It was effective, but I had realized by the end of the joke, I quite liked the name, Jesse. I had been itching to change that awful username I used to have (don’t ask what it is because I will not tell you) so I got an idea to put two letters in front of Jesse to sound kind of like a codename. The C stands for Charlise which is my real name, and L for Lacey to tie it back to Jesse. I did all this *before* learning about the allegations, but I kept it because I had already rebranded myself and still liked the band’s music. Plus, considering the fact that I even got asked this in the first place, it’s pretty difficult to tie back to the man.
The Weeknd - After Hours
TomBejoy: What are your thoughts on the current landscape of mainstream music?

Charlise: Not to sound like a HiPsTeR, but I generally tend not to enjoy a lot of mainstream releases. That isn’t to say that *all* of it is bad (that Weeknd record from last year is a perfect example of a super popular release being good) but I just tend not to gel with what charts.
Pygmylush - Mount Hope
EnigmaticSnob: What's an obscure artist you really enjoy listening to that not many people have heard of?

Charlise: Pygmylush is a band that I discovered a few months back and have fallen in love with. They’re a side project with members from Pageninetynine, and make some gorgeous indie-folk that is fantastically produced. Their first album has basically no cohesion and has a mixture of screamo and folk tracks with one drone one thrown in (I’m not joking) but their other two don’t really suffer from that. I’d definitely recommend starting with their sophomore release: Mount Hope.
Say Anything - ...Is a Real Boy
Okcomputer12127: What was the hardest review for you to write?

Charlise: The hardest review to write was definitely for Is a Real Boy by Say Anything. Normally I try to keep my personal shit private due to my trust issues, but I felt that it was important for me to articulate the emotions that the album reminded me of on that review. In the end, I ended up being extremely proud of it, even if I still do get a little anxious about the fact that’s now publicly available information.
Pierce The Veil - Collide with the Sky
Ida: What are some of your musical pet peeves?

Charlise: I have quite a few, but my main one is definitely when a heavy/aggressive track is too overproduced. With the exception of like two bands that I can think of, I find squeaky clean metal/post-hardcore to be vomit-inducing. That and overly-melodic takes on those two genres. They can obviously be done well but most of the time you just end up with dogshit like Pierce the Veil.
Korn - The Path of Totality
Rater: What is your least favorite music genre?

Charlise: I generally try not to generalize music. I never like saying stuff like “x genre is bad” because I am a firm believer that any type of music can be good if done well enough. That being said, I’d say my bottom five are progressive metal, drone/ambient, nu-metal, melodic metalcore, and pop-country.
Between the Buried and Me - Alaska
Jamobo: What is your approach when it comes to listening to a new genre of music?

Charlise: I usually just try my best to have an open mind. That’s honestly the best thing I think you can do when approaching any kind of new music, let alone a full genre. It could lead to you finding some of your favorite music to shake up your regular listening.
Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged No. 2.0
AmazingBlizzard: What do you think is the worst album of all time?

Charlise: Apator’s Masturbate in Praise of Black Satan is a 0 in every sense in the word, but Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged performance is definitely my least favorite of all time. The former is because, well, I don’t think I have to explain. It’s barely an album and there is no reason to listen to it. The ladder, however—actively upsets me—as well as just sounding like garbage. She is having a breakdown the entire time which makes you feel guilty for listening to the record, her vocals are fried, and she keeps poorly playing the same 4 chords on her acoustic guitar (she barely knew how to play the fucking instrument and it shows). Plus, there is an endless supply of pointless interludes that feature her delusional and frankly pitiful ramblings. This record should never have been released. Nobody wants to listen to a mentally unwell super star tragically embarrass herself and tarnish her legacy. Fuck MTV for even distributing it.
Black Country, New Road - For the first time
Garci: Do you think that there is a thing as an instant classic?

Charlise: To me at least, the word “classic” implies past-tense. An album needs time to embed itself into both the public and personal consciousness to fully become a class, and thus I’ve never really believed much in “instant classics”. It comes off as a very impulsive term, at least in my eyes.
BGL13: How many listens does it take to get your true thoughts on an album?

Charlise: Honestly, it depends. Sometimes I listen to an album once and instantly solidify an opinion that doesn’t shift no matter how many times I spin it (this year’s Fax Gang record is a fantastic example of that). On other occasions, I’ll need to give a record 3 or 4 tries before it truly clicks.
AFI - Sing the Sorrow
ChildishBambino: What is your biggest guilty pleasure album?

Charlise: I don’t really have guilty pleasures. There are a few albums that I just like way more than I should but I can’t say I exactly feel bad about my enjoyment. I guess I’ll just list a few records that I enjoy that most people don’t: AFI’s Sing the Sorrow & DECEMBERUNDERGROUND, Circa Survive’s Juturna & On Letting Go, The Offspring’s Americana, Underoath’s whole discog (minus Erase Me because that album is dogshit) and Alexisonfire’s Watch Out! & Crisis. That’s all I can really think of off the top of my head that I’d be considered “lame” for liking.
These Arms Are Snakes - Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home
Nico: Did you enjoy being interviewed?

Charlise: I enjoyed both seeing what the community wanted to ask me and putting a lot of thought into how to answer their questions. I generally like having my brain picked, especially about topics I'm really passionate about. Plus, I just feel really flattered that somebody would actually want to interview me.
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Do Craigold next
@Rater my bad, i fixed it
u didn't put my name in 😔😔😔
Great interview!! :)
@Charlise where the frick is my question
@PipePanic 😎
@Phillip tyyyyy
Great interview @Nico @Charlise
based weeknd
El basado
Hey Now
completely disagree about danger days but that’s just an opinion
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October 2021 Playlist