The The
NakedSelf


3.0
good

Review

by DoofusWainwright USER (100 Reviews)
May 19th, 2016 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Why's My NakedJohnson So Old and Shrivelled?

Favourite artists are like everything else in this life, one day they'll let you down. These are the facts and there's no escaping; that band you love will die, split or get decrepit and start releasing the diseased music of the utterly deluded and spent. Back in 1999 I'd been listening to the The The (triple gah) back catalogue near non stop and they'd risen to the envious position of top dog. Not only had I rediscovered and reappraised the two albums I already knew from my youth I'd dug further and sought out the rest of Matt Johnson's work. This process had felt like excavating long buried treasure, I was totally unaware the man was going to record any fresh material, so when I heard The The were releasing a new album under the banner of Trent Reznor's 'Nothing Records' label I was understandably stoked; would Matt go more rock, electronic or industrial" The possibilities were intoxicating.

Well that naive fool was about to get his heart broken; those 13 years since The The's classic 'Infected' album had taken me from an impressionable 8 year old to a no less bright eyed 21 year old. Johnson on the other hand had aged from 25 to 38 and it sounded like...well, it sounded like life had knocked poor Matt for six. I turn 38 next year and listening to this album terrifies me that I only have 12 months before my knob falls off and I'm forced to take up lawn bowls. Back in '93 Johnson was asking himself 'how many whores have walked through that door' but now the similarly sexually themed 'Weather Belle' sounds like he's resigned himself to documenting a septuagenarian shuffle in a nursing home.

The album reaches its geriatric nadir on two ill-advised attempted punk anthems, 'Voidy Numbness' and 'Salt Water'. Embarrassingly try-hard, these tunes are to punk rock what the cast of 'Cocoon' were to my 21 year old wank fantasies. Meanwhile 'Boiling Point' puts us in the shoes of a despairing commuter and surprise of all surprises the song ends up sounding entirely prosaic and snore inducing; a less inspiring opening track you'd be hard pushed to name. The following bluesy muddle of 'Shrunken Man' has a marginally more appealing arrangement and is overall somewhat of an improvement but still sounds alarmingly lifeless; someone please pour Mr Johnson a shot of tequila or seven ta very much.

Of course an artist of this calibre would struggle to release an album entirely without merit and certainly there are moments here where Matt, bless the gods, finally strikes those winning 'timeless' (rather than 'old timer') notes. 'The Whisperers' is still unrelentingly downbeat but boasts some surprisingly ethereal vocals that have more than a little of the Thom Yorke's about them. The stripped down acoustic 'Phantom Walls' is an unflinching document of grief, with Johnson delivering trademark philosophical musings like 'it's pain that stops the heart from hating, that cures the mind of hesitating'. These songs and a handful of others show that if Johnson had tightened the song writing a shade then an album of acoustic based material could have worked, though you still can't escape the feeling that such an approach would've still been more befitting of a 50 something than the man who'd given us 'Soul Mining' and 'Infected' just over a decade earlier.

Needless to say I tried for months, nay possibly years, to love this album as much as previous The The releases but it was ultimately a futile endeavour; at some stage you have to admit to yourself your musical hero has lost the good fight. Johnson would enter the semi-retirement purgatory of recording soundtrack material and effectively disappear off my musical map, possibly for good. It's something that will happen to your favourite band too, and yes you'll mourn that loyal dog a while as you must...but then one day you'll spy a bright eyed puppy and be well on the road to finding yourself a replacement.

In unrelated Sputnik news I've heard the latest Brand New single is slightly disappointing...



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user ratings (18)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Everything gets old

TwigTW
May 19th 2016


3520 Comments


Old and tired . . . This really surprised me. I didn't realize he was releasing new stuff. Sorry to hear that it's not that good.

Digging: The Bathers - Sunpowder

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was released in 2000 so not all that new TWIG

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2016


14089 Comments


great review doof

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Let Love In

TwigTW
May 19th 2016


3520 Comments


Oh, I see, thought it was newer, still disappointed.

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Mort, feels harsh to bad mouth a favourite band but this album disappointed me so much at the time

BigBlob
May 19th 2016


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually really like this album. but then again I always liked his "newer" stuff

Digging: Limp Bizkit - Stampede of the Disco Elephants

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Blob I'm happy awarding it the 3/5 - there are some ok tunes on here, but compared to his 80s output this sounds so staid

BigBlob
May 19th 2016


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its just different. I think this has aged better than his earlier stuff tbh.

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The good stuff on this is 'timeless' agreed.



His 80's albums sound of their time but still come across as incredibly distinctive and inspired to my ears but I get someone would prefer his 90's output

zakalwe
May 19th 2016


26033 Comments


Review won't age. Bloody brilliant. Meet you at the bowls club mate.

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Bowls looks more and more appealing with each passing season :D

zakalwe
May 19th 2016


26033 Comments


You take the piss but I actually walked past one the other day and I thought 'yeah I'll have a bit of that when I'm older' unbelievable.

Spacesh1p
May 19th 2016


7669 Comments


Bookends of this (summary included) are brilliant. Nice work.

DoofusWainwright
May 19th 2016


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers Spacesh1p, couldn't resist that summary

Dylan620
May 2nd 2018


4360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gave this a first proper listen this morning while out and about (my dad played it for me years ago but it wound up as background music). Album is front-loaded but quite good on first impression, though time will tell if this will grow to reach the same level as The The's previous work for me. "The Whisperers" is a stunner, would've been a highlight on any of the previous LPs bar Infected.

Digging: Lucy Dacus - Historian

DoofusWainwright
May 2nd 2018


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'The Whisperers' and 'Phantom Walls' are the best here I think

BigBlob
May 2nd 2018


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

do you like dusk doofus?

DoofusWainwright
May 2nd 2018


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

4.5/5 BB - and a review (my 4th review here - those were the days)

zakalwe
May 2nd 2018


26033 Comments


I’ve sinced joined that bowls club. My backhand draw technique is the talk of the village. Edna has been giving me the eye cos I cut such a dash on the jack.



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