Review Summary: Portraying a musician.“The world is your oyster; you can have it all, son. Don’t let the bastards tell you any different.”
For many brought up with encouraging parents, or even discouraging ones, there are events that shape the development of a child’s mind. Someone like Henry Rollins, who was constantly told he’d amount to nothing, made it his life’s mission to vaporise anyone who challenged his abilities. Even if he has limitations in everything he’s done, he’s always pulled it off with at least a modest level of success. This is a very rare quality to have. Not just anyone who’s anyone can walk into what they want and be able to do it. For the mass herd of human beings, we’re normally only blessed with one, maybe two really good qualities. Sometimes they’re never even realised and go completely squandered. However, there’s an important reason why Rollin’s has gone so far, and it’s not because he has more talent than you, quite the opposite: he knows his limitations. Being able to look at your flaws and limitations in the eye and better yourself because of them is something many overlook. Because who wants to belittle themselves or reveal the harsh truth that you aren’t good at something.
Which brings me on to the successful star; actor, musician, artist – you name it – if they’re lucky enough to reach the apogee of their field and attain stardom and all its bells and whistles, you’d think that’d be enough, right? For some even that won’t bring content. Be it an impossible void to fill, an inflated ego, or an itch that legitimately has yet to be scratched, they move into another department of the arts. This can sometimes work out very well and has proven a much bigger worth to the person in doing so, but when it comes to successful actors moving into the music industry, nothing tends to irk me more than when they make an album. Don’t get me wrong, people like Jeff Bridges and Juliette Lewis shatter my sentiment, but I find more often than not a prolific actor that slopes into the scene tends to deliver a brand of music so safe and wishy-washy it’s hard to stomach at times. You know the sound, it’s the acoustic ballad which brings soporific effects; or the super generic rock band that doesn’t bring a smidge of innovation. You’ve heard Keanu Reeves is a big fan of death metal, right? “Oh, he’s in a band?! I’ll definitely check…. Oh”. It’s a common occurrence at this point and a real irritancy to find your favourite actor making music fit for the elevator or supermarket bargain bins.
David Duchovny is a great actor. I think he’s quite an underrated one at that, a man who has shown many faces with the roles he’s portrayed and fought tooth and nail to break away from the X-Files typecast. So, it pained me to hear he joined the ranks of many A-list actors hitting the music scene. Of course, I’ll be honest in saying I’ve only just recently found out he made an album previous to this one. Dubious would be the word when I thought about it. What type of music would I assume Duchovny listened to? And for the life of me, I couldn’t generalise him. So, without any preconceptions on how this would sound, how does it fair? In all honestly, I’d lump it in there with the Jada Pinkett Smith's, Michael Rosenbaum's and the Russell Crowe’s. It’s your typically bland, flaccid and generically upbeat folk-pop album. Containing peppery acoustic rhythms that sound like you’re listening to a poor man’s Gus Black LP, while David’s idle vocal work ensures you’ll be reaching for your pillow by the time you get to “Maybe I Can’t”; a track that contains a trove of drowsy melodies and awkward backing vocals. It all becomes laughable when you get to the peak of the song which builds to a crescendo of monotone groans as he bellows “We Lost” in the flattest manner imaginable. What makes the situation worse is the entire record follows this pattern. It doesn’t help matters when the production is as vacant as Duchovny’s heartless performances, ultimately resulting in one hell of slog if you're attempting to listen to this in its entirety. Occasionally you’ll come across a song like “Strangers in the Sacred Heart” or “Mo’” that sounds like The Pixies in a warped reality. But let’s be honest, I’m clutching at straws even finding that analogy.
All-in-all, I’d recommend you to stay away from this unless you’ve been struggling to sleep lately and are looking for material to do the job. There really is little on offer here, and in a market that is already chockful of first-class artists you can just as easily hear this sound done a million times better elsewhere. If you’re a hardcore fan of the man himself and you enjoy folk-y acoustic ballads then you may find something redeemable here. For the rest of us, there’s something that can be taken away from all this: mum isn’t always right.
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