William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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This Gigantic Robot Kills (mini-review)

MC Lars' latest album came in the mail the other day. IT IS THE GEEZIWISHMYFAMILYDIDNTREADTHISSOICOULDUSEAMILDEXPLETIVEHERE. Of course, I guess there's more to reviewing music than saying that I like something. So, to be precise, here's something concrete that I like about each track on This Gigantic Robot Kills:

1. Where Ya Been Lars? - Just a cool rap about where he's been! I like how he talks about stuff that didn't go so well: "I opened for T-Pain, he had zero production..." "I DJ-ed Johnny Phillips' wedding, Gerard Way was there, I'm like, 'We have the same booking agent,' he's like 'ask me if I care?'"

2. True Player For Real - You can listen to this one on the USA's National Public Radio website. "Weird Al" Yankovic plays the accordion hook, and it's fun and catchy, but I'm just as captivated by the story of an English major making intelligent punk / rap songs with his laptop! This is just a great song that glories in knowing what you're about and just bloody well doing it.

3. Hipster Girl - I kind of feel like it's his homage to Zappa's "Valley Girl," but it's not in the same tone. He's just gently poking fun at the archetype, and if this girl is real, he obviously has some respect for her. This isn't latfh.com, but if you're not at work, you should check that out too. =)

OK, I lied. I'm going to skip a few tracks for now because it's 1:30 in the morning.

5. This Gigantic Robot Kills - I don't know if I really understand this song, but the title of this track (and the album) is a tribute to Wesley Willis. You can see that there's a bump on his forehead in the picture - he got that from butting heads with his fans, screaming "Rock!" or "Roll!" Willis was a great inspiration to Lars, and although I only know about Willis via Lars (and Lars via Yankovic, via Twitter), I think that dedicating this album to him was a touching and appropriate thing to do. Anyway, the actual song is pretty rockin'. There are a lot of references to California culture in it, but that's not a bad thing except that it makes it hard for me to summarize for the purposes of this capsule review. It's basically a ska song about a boy who builds a robot to help him bring ska back.

7. 35 Laurel Drive - Lars, on the phone with his drummer: "Yo, I'm going to put the song about your house on the album. Is that cool?" The song begins: "My drummer has the messiest house in New Jersey! My drummer has the messiest house in New Jersey! John Thatcher Longley, clean up your house! John Thatcher Longley, clean up your house!" It's brilliant and catchy and funny.

9. Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Doesn't Make You Slash) - As it's often been said, it's one thing to be a guitar player who enjoys playing Guitar Hero, but quite another to be a Guitar Hero player who thinks they can play guitar. You can see this one on YouTube. Paul Gilbert drops by to contribute. (I remember playing this at C.'s, and STB recognized him and asked if Lars was famous, since Gilbert was in the video!)

13. Hey There Ophelia - A catchy and hip new take on Hamlet, which you only think has been done to death. K. Flay sings Ophelia's part convincingly.

14. (Lord It's Hard to be Happy When You're Not) Using the Metric System - It's not only a good song, but it's also refreshing to hear an American saying that the United States should adopt the metric system. (We should do it, too - informally, Canadians of my generation are still using English units for personal dimensions, e.g.: height, body weight.) It's much less wearily sanctimonious than listening to a Canadian saying "Those dumb Americans should get the metric system!" 'Cause many of us do, and it's kind of hypocritical. Besides the ease of powers-of-ten, Lars mentions something I hadn't considered: "I weigh a hundred seventy pounds, that's ninety kilograms, see metrics can even make me thin!"

So yeah, I hope this is enough to let you know why I'm pretty taken with this album. I should start doing album reviews, but I don't really make an effort to keep up with the latest stuff - I'm like the musical equivalent of Jackie Harvey.
Tags: music, reviews

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