Songs you swear you’ve heard before but haven’t. Which is not a bad thing. This guy Hesher is really gifted, although his talent may be wider than it is tall. A whole lot of genre-bending, and I’ll save you the White Album and Beck burpings so ubiquitous in the critical literature. This is the sort of album you might put together if you wanted to give a friend a really messed-up mix tape. Song to song, it’s really remarkable that the same person had anything to do with all of them. There is some impressive music on this disc, check it out! Everyone likes lists. Here’s a list of things found on this album:
1. A piece of really awful rock/rap fusion. So off-key as to be physically painful, and one of the rappers sounds like he’s running the tire challenge at boot camp.
2. A remake of The Who’s “My Generation.” Nothing special, right? And then: DMX! Spitting rhymes about autism! It’s enough to make one declare in true Sean Connery fashion, “Weird juxtaposition now, Dawg!”
3. An old-school rap song about American cheese sandwiches with power chords. Like modernist superstar James Joyce, Hesher seamlessly bends form to content — that distorted 70’s hardrock guitar is so gouda, so gouda!
4. A very pretty song whose chorus is repeated too often. Like one of those old feel-good songs on the Naples jukebox that gets people all teary-eyed; kind of like The Entertainer (re: The Sting).
5. A slightly more sinister “Steal My Sunshine.” The Police meets Lint. Some breathy high soothing vocals a la Smashing Pumpkins, a dollop of vinyl scratching and a smooth finish of grunge style guitar feedback washing to fade-out. It coheres.
6. “Mariachi Hip-Pop.” A samba feel: acoustic guitar, woodblock, muted trumpet and rapping. This is actually a really successful combo. The rap has a good melodic flow and fits in great with the musical groove. Makes me feel like I’m jamming with friends out on the stoop in August.
7. A Venga-Boys remix? Boom boom boom. Speedy drum-machine beat. Visions of highschool girls bouncing in a sort of hyperactive huddle. A solid pop song.
8. A machinegun punk track about a stolen lighter, addressed to the accused, “Lighter Thief” combines hardcore aggression with interpersonal issues. “I know you stole my lighter, yeah you took it: I thought you were my friend.”
9. A really excellent electronic dance song I would have sworn Front242 wrote, followed by a happy-go-lucky song that I really am almost certain Cat Stevens already released.
10. Very mellow watery guitar chords that flow into a pleasantly familiar sounding dance-groove. Like meeting Air’s long-lost cousin in an opium den. Futuristic shopping mall music.