Dear Babes in Wolfland,
I write to you as an insulted and eracinated consumer of your music. Having been weened — culturally and spiritually, not infantiley — on Babes in Wolfland music, your new EP came as an unwelcome rape to my fragile aesthetic sensibility. See, when I was ten I scraped together enough coin to purchase your incomparable “Sugarplum Waterloo.” Ninety minutes of pink noise punctuated by deadpan readings of “Napoleon Dynamite” lines by middle-schoolers. It was a genre-breaking anthropological plumbing into the gestalt despair of youth in middle America.
Then, when my parents bought me your follow-up box set, your music became the soundtrack to my collegiate misadventures. Through box after box of five dollar pizza and during every clandestine import of Wittgenstein into the parochial library at St. James’ School for Smarts, the fifteen discs of “Home Improvement,” were my guiding light. I mean did you forget what a monumental achievement that was: 2030 minutes of ambient sounds recorded at a lumber yard spliced together with confessions of serial killers. The insouciant composition, the hammers-on-nails that became hammers-on-skulls that became incessant drums. Oh God, it was incredible.
What else could I expect but a plunge into the vast Apollyon of musical retardation that your latest release, “Dasein Gloryhole,” has turned out to be. Twelve tracks of traditional — read horrifically contrived — melodies and song structure. Hell, I heard a seventeen -year-old singing the single on the bus. Let’s see him try to sing Improvement’s “Spackle, Bullet Holes and Tim Allen.” Impossible! Perfect.
Let me share with you a track I find especially awful, “Boogie Boogie Boogaloo.” (Reprinted in its entirety):
Wop bop alloo op
And a coonskin cap
Wop bop alloo op
Come come suck the sap
And a right loose blouse
Oopsie doodle woodle
Jump on the mouse
The Nachbar is the Nachgebur
He who dwells nearby
I dwell, you dwell
Sittin’ around getting high
Kant Kant tiddly-wink
If Dasein does not exist
Independence day after tomorrow
Suck my spit
Now the meaning of this song is clear, trivial really. You were going for the stock meta-critical analysis of Heideggerian unreadiness-to-hand by crafting an intentionally frustrating, yet puerile, track: conspicuousness writ large. Bravo. What a tired device. Have you forgotten the timeless “Butch the Sipper’s” hip-hop record “Auf Weirder Brains” where he does just this, rapping in a made-up language while his hype man screams “Use me!” Or perhaps you never dropped a needle on “Juice Kant.” Oh, you know, Julius Caesar Mother Lover’s three-track grindcore experiment:
Candy six teens
It was only fifteen seconds and almost unbearable. But it earned them the distinction of Best New Apophantic Artist at the VMAs. (Although, who can really remember the ceremony. All anyone remembers is the giant dead whale that Gary Shandling showed up in to promote animal rights).
Either way, it’s been done.
I couldn’t even find a glimmer of joy in your hidden track, “Poof”:
Edna St. Vincent Millay barked out something about God. Now, dear listeners, you must resist any temptation to read symbolism into this broken thought. Edna St. Vincent Millay was the rather overdone name that Chuck Smit, with his rather underdone name, had given his terrier. Chuck was a writer or a reader or a Call of Duty champion or something. How did I know that Edna St. Vincent Millay was barking about the Lord? She was properly pious. Cheez-it-stained Chuck wouldn’t have it any other way. Boxed-wine-and-Xanax Chuck — who always confused Xanax with Nexium — wouldn’t have it any other way. Sgtchuckster777 wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lyrically this track could have really accomplished something. However, in a fashion well-suited for this Mephistophelean pox of an album, you — pardon my allusion to “Home Improvement” — screwed it up. You played it over the sped-up soundtrack of Iron Man 2. Between the chirps of Robert Downey Jr. and the cold intercourse of metal and visual effects, you could very easily hear the lyrics. What is the point of that!
I’m finished with you! (Too angry to continue my handwriting trails off…)
Thank you for contributing to our “write our next album contest.” We think your piece — more Byron than Hemingway anyway — will sound great screamed by the incomparable Gary Shandling over that Lady Gaga song everyone is talking about. We especially liked the clever etude to Gary Shandling. Also, “Home Improvement” was 14 discs, not 15.
Love, Babes in Wolfland