Feanor's Journal logo

Monsters from the Id

Filtered: Only entries tagged as Listening Skills displayed.
Main feed for this filter: rss icon
Comments feed for this filter: xml
Remove filter

Monday, November 16, 2009 10:18 AM
(Last updated on Monday, November 16, 2009 01:59 PM)
Listening Skills - Five American Portraits by The Red Krayola with Art & Language
 by Fëanor

(Updated with links.)

I'm launching a new feature here: Listening Skills. Just a silly name for a music review post.

A while back somebody from the record label Drag City asked me if I'd like a free copy of The Red Krayola's latest, a five-song LP called Five American Portraits. I immediately said yes. The Red Krayola is a very strange, psychedelic, experimental, avant-garde rock band. I own and very much enjoy the band's 1996 release, Hazel. It's an extremely weird disc, with lots of dissonant sounds, insane but clever lyrics, and other, similar nonsense, but many of the tracks are surprisingly catchy and fun to sing along with once you get used to them. I was hoping for something similar from Five American Portraits. Sadly, that's not what I got.

The album's track list is as follows:
  1. Wile E. Coyote
  2. George W. Bush
  3. Jimmy Carter
  4. John Wayne
  5. Ad Reinhardt

So, each song is a portrait of the person it's named after, right? Yes, exactly. In fact, literally. Each song is a description of that person's face, accompanied by music. Actually, less a description than a simple rundown of the facial features: left eyebrow, left cheek, right eyebrow, etc. It's... it's awful. It's really, really awful. The music isn't interesting. The painfully dull and repetitive lyrics are read/sung out in extremely annoying voices. It's almost impossible to listen to.

There's art in the world that I'm glad exists, because conceptually it's interesting, and by its existence it extends and expands what art is and what art can be. But just because I'm glad something exists doesn't necessarily mean I like experiencing it. In fact, art of this type can often be the opposite of entertaining. Five American Portraits is a very good example. It's a reasonably clever concept, but I much prefer listening to a description of it than listening to the thing itself.
Tagged (?): Art (Not), Listening Skills (Not), Music (Not)
Back to Top

Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books.

RSS icon  Facebook icon 

Advanced Search

Jim Genzano's books on Goodreads Recent Entries

Recent Comments

Most Popular Entries

Entry Archive


RSS Feeds
  • Main feed: RSS icon
  • Comments: RSS icon
  • You can also click any tag to find feeds that include just posts with that tag.

Back Home

© Copyright 2004-2024 Jim Genzano, All Rights Reserved

Like what you see here? Show your gratitude in the form of cold, hard cash, and you could help me make it even better!