Saturday, October 9, 2010

Less of the Forest, Please

The Lowdown, 10/9/10

Ah, the many amazing discoveries one makes working at Amoeba Music. While this blog is primarily devoted to showing love to artists that I respect and who deserve more recognition, there occasionally comes a point where a critic's just got to give in to the hate in order to make fun of a really, truly, amazingly awful album. Well, Lance's album "More of the Forest" not only fills that void, but sets new standards for it.

The story behind this album: a few weeks ago, some dude dressed almost exactly like Pharrel of the Neptunes stepped into Amoeba Music with a hip hop CD to put on our shelves. I went up to consign his album (the cover of which is pictured above) and asked him to tell me a little bit about the project. First thing this dude explains to me is that if you turn his name upside-down, it spells out "Murs." Ummmm... Upside-down name, pictured below:

HMMMM. Now, in case that's not enough to convince you that Lance would love nothing more than to give the Living Legends sloppy joes in back of their tour van, he proceeds to tell me that Eligh is one of his biggest influences and that he's basically like "the 4th Melancholy Gypsy." He notes that like Eligh, he produced most of the tracks on his album in addition to doing all of the rapping and all of the artwork for the project. Yes, all of the artwork. That album cover is by 20-something indie rapper Lance, NOT by his 6 year-old niece. In case the painstaking effort put into Lance's crayon line schemes isn't apparent, let's take a gander at the rest of the album artwork (click on images for larger resolution):

Interior front cover:

Back of front cover:

Back of album with tracklisting:

CD sticker artwork:

Alright... so clearly, Lance doesn't have a promising future career in graphic design. But think of the many albums you've acquired over the years that have had tremendous music hidden behind their horrible presentation. A friend of mine mentioned to me that I should ask him for a promotional copy of the album for comedic purposes, and I managed to snag a free one off our man Lance in order to give it a listen. Opened it up, put it on the player, and surprise surprise... it's some of the worst, most unintentionally hilarious music I have heard in some time!

Let me break it down for you right quick. After kicking things off with the simplistic lo-fi jazz loop of "Inoutro," Lance reveals that he's more of a Radioinactive biter than he is an Eligh biter on the first proper song "Show Him Up." But while Lance's voice and style are genuinely grating to the ears and sure to make discerning listeners eject the disc after the 00:15 mark, it's the ultra-advanced lyricism that really makes the album crash and burn. Check out these quotes from his verses:

“got a pocketful of prayers to stay fair/and more care than a bear/ daring to test you is my own barriers/ it’s all a game and one tries to be more scarier” – MC Lance, "Show Him Up"

“I didn’t always celebrate my birthday but the Butterfingers didn’t fumble/ that’s why they’re still trying to guess my name like Rumple/ High like stilts/ with the best of kin" - Lance Diggy, "Business"

“Running from giant tarantulas/ gargantuan phantoms of the soul/ doused in camp and ready to ignite with the flick of a Bic/ my consciousness is present like old St. Nick” - L.A.N.C.E, "Bonus Track"

“So I never listen to a hood that defend on the mother frackers/ crackin’em like pregnant pterodactyls” - Lance, "Prowess"

You couldn't make stuff like this up if you tried to parody rap music! This is only a small sample of the lyrics which, when paired with the completely off-beat basement made synth tracks, brings this recording to a whole new level of embarrassing. While the horrendous lyrics make you pause and cringe repeatedly, the album reaches its pinnacle of awkwardness with the track "When It Rains," where Lance busts out his singing voice (or lack thereof) for what sounds like its intended to be Native American Indian rain chant. YIKES. Way to disrespect the minorities there as well Lance!

The moral of the story? If you're going to record yourself rapping, you better know how to be yourself first. OR: if you see Lance's crappy CD on display, shoot to kill.

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