Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pigeon John's latest is NOT Worth It.

The wary lothario.

That's the word from me at PopMatters, where Dragon Slayer earns my coveted "Three Stars Out Of Ten" rating.  Other albums that might merit such a rating are the Birthday Massacre's live album, Ariel Pink's album from last year, and most Christian adult contemporary records.  Which Dragon Slayer sort of is, in its way.  Select paragraphs:

John gets pretty “On” in opening song “The Bomb”, which Volkswagen had the good sense to use in a commercial, despite John’s endorsement of his phat Cadillac. It’s a catchy clip-clop about being “about to blow up”, supported by handclaps, tambourines, screaming organ, and shout-outs to Molly Ringwald and Frank Sinatra. With a trumpet part and more rapping, it could’ve been a Cake tune. Indeed, “Bomb” is the best thing on the album: a polite way of saying it’s all downhill from there. The music on Dragon Slayer is a promising mix of live instruments and programming, but for the most part, the hooks aren’t much, and the music’s too square and quirky to connect, let alone rock bodies...

In “To Do List”, for example, John’s wife goes on a trip and leaves him a to-do list, apparently consisting of three chores: take out the trash, feed the pets, and make some phone calls. John gets sidetracked by Denny’s and XBox, doesn’t do his chores, and has to eat crow. This scenario is both unrealistic—seriously, how long does it take to do those particular chores?—and hackneyed. If only he’d fallen into some sort of Adventures in Babysitting scenario or detailed how to install a garage door opener, the lyrics might have some kick. (Those are just brainstorms, but remember when Buck 65 explained the correct way to shine shoes in “Craftsmanship”?  FASCINATING.) Pigeon John seems to get a kick from his everyday dude-ness, but on Dragon Slayer, he has trouble communicating why anybody else should care.

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