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  • Do You Know: Jessica Simpson's stab at Country

    24 May 2009, 08:12 by Ulgan

    And I mean stab in the sense of stabbing the heart of Country music with a rusty, poisoned knife. Luckily for us, she does't know how to wield a metaphorical knife and mainly ends up cutting herself. At least if album sales are to be used as a metric of her skills with said metaphorical knife, which is of course an odd thing to assume and as such I think this metaphorical train of likenesses is pretty much doomed.

    What I was trying to say is that Jessica Simpsons' Country-album sucks and thank God, Satan or Cthulhu for its bad sales which made her label decide not to release more so-called Country albums from her.

    I borrowed Do You Know from our local library about two weeks ago and last week I had managed to gather up the necessary courage and disregard for my own personal safety to put it on and give it a few thorough spins. Urgh. I lived to tell: I still haven't joined Jesus as a zombie.

    I would call Do You Know bad, but that'd be an insult to the word bad. Things that are "bad" do not leave one cold and emotionless, they instill strong negative reactions against and create a strong desire to never again see/hear/listen to/experience this bad thing. Jessica Simpsons' Country-album isn't anything like that: you listen to it, and as soon as it stops spinning, you'll be strained to remember anything about it. It goes in from one ear and leaves from the other instantly without leaving any marks. It's the epitome of worthlessness in more ways than one. In a way I am awed that someone has managed to capture pure nothingness unto the silver disc so perfectly as this: listening and trying to understand this album is an excercise in futility because there is nothing to understand, nothing to experience, nothing at all. A lot of popular music and pop Country is surface only; when you scratch at the shiny surface, you reveal it only cover a bubble of nothing. Well, on Do You Know, even the surface is made from nothingness.

    In one sentence: Do You Know is the third worst album I have ever heard, miles below all the bad albums I've had the questionable pleasure of hearing in my life. It's not quite as bad as Otto von Wernherrs' shitty Disco featuring Madonna on backing vocals (before her career kicked off properly), but a tad worse than the extremely condensed badness of Lost Soul Division's debut.

    I must say I prefer an album that is genuinely bad above this emotionless, manufactured, unsincere and dismal radio-friendly soft rock, because even negative emotions are better than the utter void of any feelings this album leaves in one.

    And Soft Rock is what this is, really. Music isn't made Country just because you add a bit of lap steel to it. That's as far as the "Country" in Do You Know goes. Strip it from the album, and you've got some average adult-oriented radio soft rock here, just as gray and tasteless as anything else that could be described by these words.

    Hank III was right when he said that Pop Country really sucks. And Do You Know sucks even more than that. What a wretched album it is.
  • The tag "God-damned Country"

    19 Mar 2009, 07:02 by Ulgan

    Please, whenever you listen to low-down miserable country, please tag individual tracks, artists and albums with the tag in the hopes of building a great collection of streamable miserable country for when you're feeling desperate and are away from your music collection... hard to NOT feel desperate when your albums are away from you, eh?

    I've been listening to it all morning... good stuff so far. But there could be more, right?
  • And The Ass Saw The Angel

    6 Feb 2009, 08:28 by Ulgan

    I really dig Nick Cave as a singer, musician and above all, lyricist. That's why I was quite interested in what his book And The Ass Saw The Angel would be like. I was not to be disappointed: it was a sick fucking book.

    If there is a book that well and truly represent everything I dig about -music, it is this book. It's got everything good miserable music has: bible thumpin' zealous christian fanatics and preachermen, righteousness, downfall, divine wrath, insanity, alcoholism, degenerate and bloodthirsty dogs, drugs, hatred, murder, violence, God, Satan, decay, torment, pain, bloodshed, death, depression, drunkards, hookers, blood and rain. And much more. It's a delightfully and sickeningly twisted take on Americana as only Nick Cave can do it; similar to many of his lyrics with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but exploring those same depths with far more detail.

    The book loses some of its momentum towards the latter half when things start evolving towards an inevitable climax; the build-up just isn't written as tightly as it should be and results in slight tedium from time to time, and I must admit that the ending was a bit anti-climactic even though I didn't expect brimstone and hellfire. But the dragged-out build-up and then the somewhat minimalistic finalé sort of let the reader down.

    However, as a debut novel, it's not half bad and the excellent first half alone makes it worth reading. If you like the music and especially lyrics of bands such as Those Poor Bastards and Sons of Perdition, I'd say you damn well must check out this book.