The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
In 2002, Seattle Weekly editor and fellow Freelance Mentalist Michaelangelo Matos posted the track listing of a multi-CD year-end wrap-up on his website. The deal was that if you sent him a CD-R with songs from bands not included on his box set, he’d send whichever of his CDs you wanted most. Former State Collegian Carey Price let me use her laptop to make him a CD-R of the pop-punk/pop-crap I thought he ignored. And I got 2002 pt. 3: A Hot Mom’s Allegiance in return.

The first third of the CD-R is technoid twaddle in search of a clothing store to inhabit (except for ESG’s Teenbeat twaddle “Six Pack”), though it’s possible I’m not qualified to judge it since I haven’t done the reading. I dig the worldbeat that follows, which is ironic since not only haven’t I done the reading, I don’t even know what language these songs are in! Tara Pound’s “Badala” and Yondo Sister’s “Reviens Johny” sound just like Basement Jaxx’s “Jump And Shout” and the Talking Heads’ “Nothing But Flowers” only with more exciting climaxes. Good stuff, though I’m in no rush to find out more. I might as well wait until I have a full-time job and a few more years on the odometer. Save some musical discoveries for when I have more money and less interest in adolescent overdrive.

The Casino Vs. Japan track sounds like the beginning of “European Endless” but repeats those first seconds for over three minutes (man, when Kraftwerk delivers and you don’t? That’s sad). A brief interlude points out that even Tag Team delivers more than Kraftwerk does anyhow, and finally we get to the shit that inspired me to swap CD-Rs with Matos in the first place. I still haven’t bought Nellyville (I just heard “Air Force Ones” for the first time TODAY and goddamnit why I can’t I remember to just get this thing already?!) so I’m damn grateful for “Hot In Herre,” though that lady’s unimaginative retort to Nelly’s suggestion in the chorus reminds me that I probably should buy Country Grammar before Nellyville, anyhow. Though it fucks the 2002 Rap Hits block with its so-very-UK sonic sterility, the Sugababes “Freak Like Me” is enjoyable even if you don’t give a shit that the hooks are from Gary Numan (though ironically, the beats are slightly more dynamic than Numan's but the singers are LESS aggressive than Adina Howard).

You know why “Work It” didn’t make my top 10 singles of the year in 2002? I HATE those hypothetical scenarios in the final verse. She’s all sexually aggressive and scatting about her dunk-a-dunk-dunk and then she blanks out! She loses all interest in my big *elephant sound*! That disappointing lack of focus is why “Work It” only made my top 20. I’m glad Matos included the overlong skit at the end so that I don’t feel so bad for accidentally including a Desaparecidos skit on the CD-R I sent him.

You know why “On My Block” didn’t make my top 10 singles of the year? Me neither. I need to ask people to send me examples of piano-driven rap singles that suck. I can’t think of a single one. If I had Soulseek I’d be further perusing the discography of Scarface this second. The only other song I think I ever heard of his was something featuring Makaveli and I don’t recall liking it.

“Marshall’s Been Snookered” really makes you think, don’t it? OK, maybe it doesn’t now, but it sure did a year ago, right? Maybe? I still like the first 50 seconds of it.

Maybe I’d appreciate DJ Shadow more if I could hear out of both ears (ironic birth defect for me, isn’t it?). Headphone masterpieces are kind of lost on us living-in-mono types. Plus I don’t care if you make lite jazz with a quintet, two turntables or a harmonica held between your butt cheeks; it’s still lite jazz. The Out Hud track reaffirms that if there’s room for a vocalist to scream “OWWWWW! BREAK DOWWWWN!” over your post-punk jam then you might as well put one on there (thank you, Rapture!). To be fair, it’s possible their singer just fell asleep. I didn’t bother to get the Doug Martsch solo album because I thought Ancient Melodies Of The Future was hella disappointing. Based on the faux-blues number “Stay,” I might finally pick it up once I’ve bought everything Yazoo ever put out (I’m talking about the label; I’ve already got the Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet collabos).

So yeah, about a third of this CD would have probably would have shown up on a compilation from me had I heard enough and had access to enough to make a multi-disc wrap-up in the first place. That’s probably more than Matos wishes he’d used from my CD, which is probably on a waiting list to become a coaster. All I ever heard back was the occasional ‘shut up you like “Underneath Your Clothes”’ on ILX. Though I didn’t even tell him that much (until now!).
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