It’s always kind of depressing getting older and coming to the realization that people younger don’t really care about you, or anything else, for that matter. This was a theme in one Bukowski story, too, I recall: an author who like Odd-Future-offshoot beats-jazz revue The Internet originally hails from LA, in one piece in Tales from Ordinary Madness where this group of teenagers is making fun of the main character as if he were a whale incapable of screwing humans. At the end of the story, the main character climbs into bed in his home and dies.
Sorry for that somber anecdote in what’s supposed to be this workmanlike and professional forum of music review, but I thought it would be more excusable given the current reality in our country, especially in a place like LA where death can often seem imminent and take on many forms. Right away on “Come Together,” The Internet, too, sound like they’re corralling up all people of their race for a sort of call to arms, with the chorus “They gon’ get us to come together”, which comes off like an endorsement of unity in the face of adversity from the Caucasian camp.
And I know I’m going all over the place here: the reason I mention youth and apathy earlier is that still, disappointingly, even in light of all the creative new jazz that’s come out this year by Nubya Garcia, Kamasi Washington and others, this music is still extremely conventional and “cool,” as if trying to appeal to radio with that poker-faced faux-sexiness you just might have encountered in pop culture sometime in the last 10 years, like if you haven’t been living in a cave, that is. The chord progressions and even Syd the Kyd’s singing technique all seem borrowed from the band’s former work on “Come Together” and underlying this whole project, I think, is the fear of being “wrong,” or the fear of doing a disservice, or the fear of, maybe, and this may offend some people out there, but of deriving any white artists as part of their collection of influences on this creative process. The stuff is just miring at this point, in other words, static before the extant pool of John Coltrane, Drew Hill and Timbaland (feel free to substitute any of those three artists for other ones if you see fit, although, again, there’s really no point in doing so, since my whole monologue here is about how this stuff is played out, already explored on Purple Naked Ladies and Feel Good).
“Roll (Burbank Funk)” is again stale and lacking in emotion, even too “grounded” by way of the title itself — it’s like they’re not even TRYING to unleash music that can be enjoyable EVERYWHERE. You have to be in this place called “Burbank,” whatever the fu** that is, probably be on antidepressants or just stoned all the time, dressed in expensive clothes and have this poker-faced “cool” about you. It’s so chic that I almost want to do it myself, but then I remember the scintillating awkwardness and genre-spanning unpredictability of N.E.R.D.’s last album and I think twice.