Reviews: 8/27/2007

Our Opinion… not that anyone really asked for it.
For the week of 8/27/2007

It was two years ago when we became involved. I was sitting in a parked car, somewhere outside of Memphis when I heard the first five chapters of “Trapped in the Closet,” R. Kelly’s “hip-hopera”. I had just come back from Graceland and was tired of hearing about all the songs that Elvis didn’t write, so when I heard R. Kelly telling a narrative that read like a Greek tragedy, complete with drive by shootings, strippers, prison and the occasional midget, well, I was elated.
A month after my Memphis meltdown, I was privy to a viewing of the first 12 Chapters, which were freshly released on DVD. Now let me tell you, seeing this hour-long song play out as a movie completely blew my mind. I lay in bed and watched all of the special features. It was then I heard R. Kelly promise me more chapters – he swore, eyes staring into that camera, that “Trapped in the Closet” was a way of life, that it was a feeling and an era, that there would be more for me outside of this DVD. I needed more, I needed to know what happened next. I waited, then I waited some more, all I could do was keep waiting. I was like a teenage girl waiting for the phone to ring, and in reality, I was twenty-one years old, waiting for R. Kelly to release Chapter 13.
South Park gave me a spoof and then Weird Al came out with his own version of “Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” complete with the line, “Liver? I don’t even like liver,” which could not have been written better by R. Kelly himself, but still it just wasn’t the same. I wanted to know what would happen next to all the characters I had fallen in love with from the first twelve chapters. Was Twan going to go back to prison? Was the policeman going to shoot the midget? Who the hell was Roxanne? I had so many unanswered questions, and I was starting to feel just like a fourteen-year-old girl, one that had happened to let R. Kelly piss on her face.
But just when I was ready to give up, R. Kelly put out chapters 13-22. With the introduction of new characters, and the resolutions for the previous ones, I felt probably the way everyone else feels about Harry Potter. The same way people threaten death if you’re going to ruin the ending of a Harry Potter story, well, that is how I felt about Trapped in the Closet, you tell me what happens and I will simply kill you.
Now I will admit, the first twelve chapters still resonate more in my mind. Maybe because I’ve walked around for the last two years with lines like, “I pull back the cover, Oh My God a Rubber,” or “Cool, climax, just let go of my leg,” stuck in my head, or maybe it was the fact that by making up this crazy ass shit, R. Kelly really did do something new. – Sugar Tits
Oh novelty – an educated emcee..! Who, I ask, but the inimitable Ace Rizzle would dare drop “zeitgeist” and “clusterfuck” in the same song? No, my piglet, ‘twas rhetorical; do not hurt your poor self.
Your humble Marquis readily admits to owning most of the Aesop discography, so take us at our word when we say this is his most mature recording to date: more sophisticated than the homespun charm of Labor Days, yet lacking the schizophrenia found on the virtuosic Bazooka Tooth – and easily capable of defeating the recent Fast Cars EP in single combat.  Normally, of course, we abhor funk in all its incarnations, but the – how do you say? – “fat bass” what underscores None Shall Pass satisfied our lower urges quite capably, allowing us to devote our full attention to the most excellent rhymes, such as: “I was a dark dumb student, No hookie rookie daytrippin’ on visions of chickens lookin’ like R. Crumb drew ‘em, They grew ‘em in the royal dirt of Suffolk County’s flooring, With the blood of an alcoholic clergyman in his forearms.”
And while we find the hip-hop custom of guest appearances vaguely obnoxious, the efforts of El-P, Rob Sonic and John Darnielle are most welcome in this instance. If you consider yourself at all a connoisseur of the spoken word and the ill beat, oh crude reader, do what you must to get your hands on None Shall Pass posthaste. – El Marquis de Nada
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One can be forgiven for underestimating The Bird and the Bee, particularly when they seemed to have all the sinking summer shelflife of their single “Fucking Boyfriend”. Yes, a sugar angel singer using the f-word has a certain pleasurable cache, but a limited one, like trying to remember the taste of a Snickers only seconds after the crumpled wrapper has dropped from your hand.  Their self-titled debut took a few palatable singles (“Again and Again”) and dispersed them through a carnival cruise of mediocre Bossa electro.  The sleeping pill samba, Inara George’s Windexed whine and the pitter patter of footie pajama beats, amounted to an album cunningly contemporary and, for that, breezily discarded.  If the Please Clap Your Hands EP portends anything, it’s that the duo have become better pop architects, sewing in beats with actual impact, and allowing Inara George to flex her voice in ways that pass through puberty.   Their cover of “How Deep Is Your Love?” can’t help but invoke Leslie Feist’s similarly gorgeous mouth-to-mouth of The Bee Gee’s “Inside and Out”, for both the striptease glamour and the revisionist genius. “Man” surrounds George’s voice (circling itself in breathless echoes) with the musical air of a Victorian ball where the beats pound out the Contredanse steps in a song out of time and in step.  When you get to the lumbering martial gait of “Polite Dance Song”, it’s clear that The Bird and the Bee have artfully expanded their tempo range and Inara George has cleansed her singing of ticks and repetitious crutches.  When she rises and softly breaks off the line “you wanna shake it like you just don’t care” , there’s little left to do but to surrender to the slick craft, the hand clap, and the beats that sweetly slink through the cracks in your defenses.  More, please.  – Alice Cookies
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Do I ‘like’ this album?  To a lesser extent it’s similar to ‘liking’ roadside car crashes, dogfights, catching up on the latest Lindsey Lohan news and other unfortunate but nonetheless enthralling events.  However, instead of matching the consistently gloomy content with slow sad-ass music (c’mon Darnielle, I used to ‘like’ The Mountain Goats), the Mendoza Line provide an unsettlingly catchy soundtrack to demise.  The second disc of covers say more than I could about the style of music with remakes of Springsteen, Dylan, Richard Thompson and Arab Strap.  Do I ‘like’ this album?  Yea, I do.  But am I gonna follow it up with “Party Hard” on my best bro’s next mixtape?  Probs not. – The Baffler
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Now don’t get me wrong. If you’ve always secretly wished that Christina Aguilera had made a wussy, pseudo-industrial, dance-metal album, then get your cloven hoofs down to and pick this Scandinavian stinker up.
Reviews (purportedly written by paramours, courtesans and Lizette’s mom) describe Lizette &’s music as angry and dark. Jim Henson’s Labyrinth was angrier and darker than this pierced muppet and her faux feel-good euroglametal trash.  Here’s hoping the self-proclaimed diva meets one of the little green men she has written about and they take her on some sort of amazing journey into artistry that she might create a work of worthwhile piece of art or at least some decent entertainment.
And another thing – not even at his acid-baked, megalomaniacal worst did Jim ever do any live shows at the Hollywood Bowl as “Jim Morrison &.”- Genseric Vetok Solidarnosc
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