The Uncluded
Hokey Fright


4.0
excellent

Review

by valrus USER (4 Reviews)
October 24th, 2013 | 23 replies


Release Date: 05/07/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Weren't you ever a kid, dude?

Fair warning: This review was originally going to be a reply to the other one, the one from May 1st that gave this album a 2 out of 5. I decided I had enough of a rebuttal to make a proper review out of it.

Up front, this album gets a half point from me for novelty alone. It sounds like nothing else I've heard this year or possibly ever. That said, there are dribs and drabs of that negative review that I don't dispute. I agree, for example, that Kimya Dawson can be a bit grating, a bit too earnest and twee, and her guitar work not terribly inventive. But it didn't take me too long to get used to her voice, and I can overlook the so-so guitar lines because there's enough diversity between songs in the instrumentals that they don't overwhelm it. Besides, I don't think the main draw here is supposed to be the singing or the guitar chops. Most of these songs seem to me to be about the lyrics, and there I think both participants do a bang-up job of choosing interesting and unconventional subjects and writing about them compellingly. And there are themes here that seem to me to justify even what seem like terrible decisions at first.

Aesop and Kimya bring two very different sensibilities to Hokey Fright's table in a lot of different ways, and the words are the place those sensibilities complement each other best. Kimya's verses tend to be straightforward and often almost childish, and as a result they can serve as both unadorned emotional gut-punches (check her devastating four lines that open "Organs") and decoder rings that help bring out the meaning in Aesop Rock's typically dextrous and verbose verses.

As a result, I think this is the most I've ever enjoyed Aesop Rock on an album. His verses are not only not nonsensical, but most of them are the most obvious I've ever heard from him and I don't understand how anyone who's made a serious attempt at following them can claim otherwise. I'll go further and claim that some of them are among the most touching verses I've ever heard from a rapper. Hell, "Jambi Cafe"'s verse practically gets me choked up just for the tenderness and compassion in its delivery, and I don't even like kids. And yes, I just said a rap verse was tender and compassionate. Did I mention that this album sounds like nothing else I've ever heard?

I'll cop to its other flaws. It's too long; "Tits Up" and "WYHUOM" are repetitive and wear out their welcome, especially coming as they do at the end; and some of the harmonizing does sound really awkward. But I sort of think awkwardness is what they were going for here. We're talking about an album with a rap verse about giving candy to a kid who wipes out on a skate ramp, for f*ck sake. It's an album with a song about how discovering sex as an adolescent is not awesome but confusing, terrifying and kind of gross. There's a song about how important it is to be an organ donor, which is practically a PSA except that it also has one of the best lines of the year in "Outside of the influential arms of your idolatries / The object will be turning goodbyes into good biology".

So we can complain about all the things in the last paragraph, and we can also complain that the melodies are sing-songy, perhaps, but let's also consider that half the characters they represent are kids. Look at this album as trying to be evocative of childhood or goofy adolescence and even "WYHUOM" is a rousing success. I'm not always in the mood for that kind of whimsy. Usually I want damn kids off my lawn as much as anyone else my age. But when I do want something that's equal parts silly and thoughtful and sometimes even mixes the two till they're indistinguishable: holy goddamn f*cking sh*t, Hokey Fright is my jam.


user ratings (39)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Cultclassical (2)
A match made in heaven all right.......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Butkuiss
October 24th 2013


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still not the correct rating but close enough

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

valrus
October 24th 2013


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't like that it's rounded down to 3 on the front page. If I had a choice it would be rounded up. Given that, maybe I should just make it a 4. I'll have to think about it.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2013


6188 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

no dude this album sucks fuck kimya dawson

oltnabrick
October 24th 2013


31302 Comments


this album suks


like dumb indie music with aesop rock on it

Digging: Lil Debbie - Young Bitch

chitownflip
October 24th 2013


173 Comments


Aesop rock is like the best rapper dunzz hate bruhh.

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - THE WEEPING WORM

Butkuiss
October 24th 2013


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules you're all doing it wrong like this is in my top 10 for this year.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2013


6188 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nope you are

chitownflip
October 24th 2013


173 Comments


You just need to hop off aesops jock and actually listen to this

valrus
October 25th 2013


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rating upped to four in response to haters spewing semi-coherent bullshit. Keep it coming, haters. Want to see if I'll go to 4.5?

oltnabrick
October 25th 2013


31302 Comments


I don't care

BallsToTheWall
October 25th 2013


44805 Comments


Do it I double dog dare you..pussy.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


10362 Comments


This is a lovely review. Makes me see why someone would enjoy this album, although I have to agree with the other guys speaking up in this thread-- Kimya's voice is very much not my thing.

valrus
October 25th 2013


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm kidding, of course. That would be silly. But you all need to up your comment game.

valrus
October 25th 2013


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Omaha. I'll be the first to admit it's not for everyone, and indeed I don't mind people not liking it. I just think claiming it's without merit is ridiculous.

MeatSalad
October 25th 2013


14900 Comments


the future of hip-hop

Digging: The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


6188 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wat you need to up your music taste game

and apparently your reading game too i gave a very good reason as to why this album sucks kimya dawson is awful her voice is trash her delivery sucks everything about her just ruins every track she gets on

oltnabrick
October 25th 2013


31302 Comments


nah dude this is a 5 im returd

MeatSalad
October 25th 2013


14900 Comments


[2]

valrus
October 25th 2013


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your "very good reason" was "this album sucks fuck kimya dawson." Don't get me wrong, not liking Kimya Dawson is a perfectly valid reason not to like this album, but that comment is useless.

oltnabrick
October 25th 2013


31302 Comments


ur comments r useless huhuhuhehuehuhwyuhehuh



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy