Jerking Off in an Art Museum

Holy balls. The first serious contender for the best album of 2008 (yes, I realize how stupid that sounds since it’s only Jan. 22). It has been 3 years since Why? made critics change their panties when they released Elephant Eyelash, but Why? is poised to do it again with their latest stunner of an album, Alopecia.

Why? comes from the Anticon camp, a label that, along with Def Jux, has become synonymous with the “avant garde hip-hop” movement. Far from being just another act with beats and rhymes, Why? has a sound that breaks the boundaries of rap to include elements of electronic and indie rock music. It’s certainly a schizophrenic and challenging concept, but Why? demonstrates a proclivity for taking these disparate styles and molding them into something truly wonderful.

Alopecia, due out March 11 on Anticon, is dark, humorous, irreverent, and bursting with life. The impressive opening volley of tracks provide strong hooks (“The Vowels, Pt. 2”) , extremely sharp and imaginative lyricism (“Good Friday”) and touching sentimentality (“These Few Presidents”). “The Hollows” has some of the most strangely beautiful lyrics I’ve heard in recent memory:

“In Berlin I saw two men fuck in a dark corner of a basketball court
Just a slight jingle of pocket change pulsing”

It’s that kind of stark realism and rich narration that really helps propel Why? above the fray. Why? manages to say a lot of things that don’t sound pretty on the surface, but the level of honesty present on Alopecia really speaks to the core of the human condition. Not too many acts can easily deliver lyrics about guys fucking on basketball courts, jerking off in art museums, and shitting your pants without coming off as sophomoric. “Simeon’s Dilemma” takes things in a different route– a highly introspective love song featuring the exceedingly sweet line, “you’re the only proper noun I need.” I think I have something in my eye.

It’s really hard to accurately convey just how immense this album truly is. Visit the Why? Myspace and check out “The Hollows.” The hype is already starting to bubble fervently around this album, don’t be one of those lamers to show up late for the party. I give Alopecia an extremely high recommendation, and I’ll be looking for you if this album isn’t in your collection come March 11. I’ll be knockin’ doors down.

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~ by theoberlander on January 22, 2008.

2 Responses to “Jerking Off in an Art Museum”

  1. What a bunch of bullshit this album is. Not enough arena rock solos. 1/5.

  2. YES! To every single word! I am enthralled with this album. It is so so good. It is much darker than Elephant Eyelash but just as, if not more, beautiful. I heard the Boards of Canada remix (it was actually my first encounter with Why?) a few months ago and I thought to myself ‘eh, the lyrics are interesting but it doesn’t do much for me’ and then I got this album…listened to The Vowels, Pt. 2 and just the first few chords of Good Friday floored me. The instrumentation and everything about it is so great. 5/5 stars! I am obviously too into this band, haha. Bravo to this blog.

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